As of Thursday, August 30, 2018
With 16 runners — nine girls and seven boys — the Prairie cross-country team hopes to have two full teams run the state meet this season.
“We have eight girls back who ran at state last year — so solid runners coming back,” coach Glenn Poxleitner told the Free Press. “Boys, we have some who came out who had never run before.”
Kendra Duclos, who “ran very well for the girls last season” and Hope McIntire, the team’s only fourth-year runner both return to the girls squad as seniors, as does Maria Schmidt.
“Maria is a second year runner and a senior, and when we talk about guts, she has guts,” Poxleitner said. “If she runs to her potential at districts and at state, that will make a huge difference. She ran second position for the team, basically, and she’s set lofty goals for this year.”
On the boys side, senior runners include James Villamor, Devin Ross, Tanner Hibbard and Ryan Arnzen.
Villamor has been “right on the edge of making state,” Poxleitner said.
Ross is “a tall kid, he plays basketball, and he has the potential to qualify for state — and lead the team in that way,” Poxleitner said. “He’s got a positive attitude. He’s listening and picking up on his fundamentals and we’re starting to see the effect.”
Arnzen is running as “a nice young kid who is in it for the right reasons,” Poxleitner said. “He’s going to cheer everyone on. I’m not sure what we have, but as a varsity runner, he’s going to be helping us out. He’s just a solid young man and the biggest thing he’ll bring to the team is supporting everyone. He’s coming off some injury-type stuff that might slow him this season, but we just love his attitude.”
Hibbard — a rodeo competitor who has pursued running — “benefits from his sheer athletic ability,” Poxleitner said. “It’ll be fun to see where he comes out. He can be a force, even on the individual level. He hasn’t had that experience in a meet yet, but I think he’ll be in the mix. He’s a kid who wants to be out front. He’ll push himself to the limits.”
Poxleitner sees toughness play out on the cross-country course.
“You have to have heart,” he said. “Your legs will tell you’re done before your brain and your heart, but the heart carries you the last part of it. Somewhere between your brain and your heart, you can see what your body will allow you to do.”
“There’s a Prefontaine quote — I’m trying to remember exactly how it goes — but it’s that he ran not to find out who was the fastest, but who had the most guts.”
Prairie’s first meet was still to be determined as of Aug. 23.