Cross country team gets ready for season with camp at Hartwick Pines, practice sessions at Hanson Hills

Cross country team gets ready for season with camp at Hartwick Pines, practice sessions at Hanson Hills
This year’s varsity cross country program from Grayling High School has enough runners for two full teams – boys and girls – with a roster that includes several returning athletes from last year’s group.
“We’re probably looking at seven boys and eight or nine girls,” Coach Justin Andre said. “We’ve got a lot of returns.”
“Caden Arredondo’s back. He’s a state qualifier from his sophomore year. We’re looking for big things from him. I’ve got a lot of sophomores and juniors this year as a whole. CeCe (Cvitkovich) is a senior. Sarah Rakoczy is a senior. They’ve got a young cast of girls to kind of lead this year,” Coach Andre said.
The cross country team started its official practice sessions on Monday, August 12, with a three-day camp at Hartwick Pines State Park.
“That gives the kids a chance to focus on cross country. It’s team bonding. Gives me a chance to evaluate how well they’ve trained over the summer,” Coach Andre said. “The camp went really well.”
During the event, the cross country athletes did some trail running and hill workouts, Coach Andre said.
“After every practice we iced our legs in the river,” Coach Andre said.
After that, the squad went back to its usual practice sessions at Hanson Hills Recreation Area. Coach Andre said he hasn’t had his full squad yet but practices have been going well.
“It’s good,” Coach Andre said. “We’re doing 8 a.m. practices. The kids are still on their summer schedules. Kids work and are on vacations. We’re hoping once school starts everyone will be in attendance and we’ll be ready to rock out our season.”
The team is working on form and technique during its early practice sessions.
“Running is all about efficiency. We spend most of the season working on form drills, muscle memory, breathing. That’s just kind of the basics. I try to embed that in their brains freshman year to senior year, so by their senior year they don’t have to think about it. A lot of it with this young age is just breathing techniques, body posture, simple things that can make a difference when running long distance,” Coach Andre said.
The team’s meet scheduled for Monday, August 19, at Houghton Lake was canceled. The Vikings were slated to participate in the Pete Moss Invitational at Benzie Central on Saturday, August 24. The squad will run in the East Jordan Invitational on Wednesday, August 28. On Wednesday, September 4, the cross country team will compete in a meet at Roscommon High School at 4 p.m. The Vikings will travel to Charlevoix for the annual Mud Run on Saturday, September 7.
Grayling has two meets scheduled for its home course at Hanson Hills: a regular season invitational meet slated for Monday, September 23, and the Lake Michigan Conference championship meet on Saturday, October 12.
Coach Andre said the team has group goals and aspirations to establish new personal records as individuals.
“Right now we’re just focusing on one meet at a time, trying to place well with both boys and girls in the conference. End result is to qualify boys and girls for the state meet,” Coach Andre said. “Running is an individual sport so we always challenge the kids to set personal records every year. It will be interesting to see how it all falls out. Now, it’s just working on their race legs.”

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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