Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 18, 2014

Washington XC looks to build in 2014

By Aaron Viner | Aug 25, 2014
Photo by: Aaron Viner The Washington cross-country team warms up before practice on Wednesday. They will open their season on Sept. 2 at Iowa Mennonite.

For the two leaders of the Washington girls’ cross-country, there is one goal at the end of the season: State.
“I want to do as much as I can,” senior Stephanie Loy said. “As for my times I want to make it to state this year, because I’ve never been there and it’s my last chance now. That’s my overall goal, so my times need to be fast to make it there.”
With Loy, junior Emme Keith returns to the team in 2014 with the same goal.
“I’m expecting to make All-Conference again this year, and then hoping to make it to state,” Keith, an All-Conference selection in 2013, said. “I was close last year and I’ve been training all summer, so I’m hoping to get there, and if I don’t I’ll be a little disappointed.”
Keith finished eighth in the conference meet last season, as well as 30th in the district competition.
Behind those two, there is going to be a tough competition for the rest of the varsity spots this year as the team improves its depth heading into this season.
“They are young and experienced,” cross-country head coach Steve Roth said. “They are deeper this year and Stephanie will be our senior leader, but there are going to be four or five girls who are going to push her. The competition on the girls’ side is going to be a lot tougher, with seven or eight girls who can compete in the varsity level.”
With the competition level high for the final varsity slots, Roth said it will only help them in the end.
“It makes it easier for us coaches, because they push each other,” Roth said. “They are very coachable and really want to do well. It’s going to be fun to watch them, and there are some girls who continue to get better
and better.”
On the boys’ side of the team, the focus is primarily on building depth and getting better as the season progresses.
“I want them to get better each meet,” Roth said. “I really want (senior Curtis Vest) to end on a great note, and he’s been with us for four years, and we did it last year where our last meet was close to our best. We improved last year a lot, and I’m expecting that to happen this year. Our boys are young, but there are three or four ninth-graders who will help us as the season progresses.”
Vest, who finished 17th in the conference meet last season, is the only senior on the team, and the team will look to youngsters like sophomore Owen Horak (20th at conference in 2013) to help build that depth in the team.
“(Improving week-to-week) is important for their mentality,” Roth said. “You have to have fun and do things so they can have fun. It’s not fun to run the 3.1 miles or 2.5 miles, but it also takes tons and tons of guts, and we are pretty tough - that will help us a lot. It is going to be interesting to see how we handle the pressure early. We are going to run tired the first couple meets, especially the boys, because they are younger.”
When looking at the overall outlook for the team, Roth noted that the Southeast Conference will be tough this year, but their goals go beyond that of the
team.
“Conference-wise, our conference is tougher than nails,” Roth said. “Mt. Pleasant has a bunch of people back and we haven’t been a really good conference team. We’ve had some good numbers the last few years, but we are just missing one or two girls to compete, but we are looking for good things. Like I tell the boys and the girls, we aren’t worried about what we do early, we are worried about what we do at the
end.”

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