Cross country program ready to start 2021 fall season
Tue, 08/24/2021 - 12:58pm caleb
Boys, girls begin new campaign after productive offseason and two weeks of official practices
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s 2021 varsity cross country team has a mix of returning runners and new members that’s hoping to improve as the season progresses and have multiple state qualifiers.
The program did not have its full group at times during the first two weeks of official practices – Monday, August 9, through Monday, August 23 – but the team has enough runners for two full squads (one boys, one girls).
“I think we have around 10 to 12 boys,” Coach Justin Andre said. “We have seven girls.”
Coach Andre said the squad has three seniors: Trevor Rakoczy, Jeffery Kennedy, and Robin Long.
“Girls’ team, we’ve got three freshmen coming in this year. All three should do very well,” Coach Andre said. “They’re going to provide a lot of depth to the girls’ team. The boys’ team is all returning. We don’t have any freshmen coming in quite yet.”
Coach Andre said he has high expectations for returning sophomore Drew Moore.
“Drew Moore is looking to lead the team again as our top runner,” Coach Andre said. “We have a pretty good boys’ team lining up right now. A lot of depth from that second to fifth position.”
“Each year the team keeps growing and that’s what we want to see as a fairly new program,” Coach Andre said.
Coach Andre said the squad did a good job of running during the summer offseason and the program also participated in summer day camps and a team camp that was partially rained out.
“I’m happy with the summer miles the kids are putting in. The kids are in shape,” Coach Andre said.
Coach Andre said the summer work allows the team to focus more on “speed work” during the early practice sessions and “not have to focus as much on conditioning.”
Coach Andre said he hopes the runners will continue to get better and set new personal records, which will help with team success.
“As coach my ultimate goal is to make sure these kids improve,” Coach Andre said.
Coach Andre said the team is hoping to qualify for the state finals as a group or have multiple runners make it through regionals as individuals.
“The season’s looking good. We’re excited. Everybody’s excited to get the season started,” Coach Andre said.
Coach Andre said the team’s schedule may change, but as of Monday, August 23, the squad’s season opener was slated for Tuesday, August 24, at Chippewa Hills. The Vikings were then scheduled to run at Benzie Central (August 28), East Jordan (September 1), and Charlevoix (September 11). The Grayling cross country program is slated to host a meet at Hanson Hills on September 27.