When the season began we really didn’t expect to make it out of sectionals this year.
You all laughed at this statement at one of our mid-season team meetings. You laughed, but we bet you also resented it a little . . . took it as a bit of an insult. We don’t blame you. Sorry for that. But, it was not meant as an insult, rather as a compliment on how far you guys have come. Okay, so maybe we underestimated this team . . . but, let’s look at it objectively. We only had nine runners returning from last year’s team. One of those nine was injured all of last season and did not race. Here are the best 2012 times recorded (on any course) for the remaining eight:
16:33, 17:58, 19:04, 19:50, 20:03, 22:17, 22:35, 24:29
You have to admit, making the state meet looked doubtful. I think we can be forgiven for our initial lack of confidence. It will not happen again, however. You have made believers out of us. What you accomplished this season is quite remarkable. And, we are not just referring to the top seven runners; we are referring to the entire team. We have coached county, conference, sectional and state championship teams and yet, this team . . . a team that didn’t win any of those championships and finished 12th in the state meet . . . this team makes us as proud as any team we have ever coached. It was your great attitude and unyielding determination that turned what could have been a disastrous season into a successful one. You worked hard in practice, you raced with heart, you supported and encouraged each other, and, in doing so, you transformed yourselves into championship caliber athletes. For comparison, here are the best times for our top eight runners this year:
16:09, 16:35, 16:42, 16:48, 16:56, 17:31, 17:44, 17:46
And, here are the times for our top eight returners for next year:
16:42, 16:48, 16:56, 17:44, 17:46, 17:57, 18:15, 18:32
That is an incredible transformation in a short period of time! The improvement shown over the course of the season, from first man to last, was huge!
It certainly would not have been possible without the great leadership provided by our captain, Kaleb Burch, and the other seniors, Carlo Lingesso, Zach LoPresti, Nick Maccariella and Anthony Marrazzo. Despite the fact that all but one of you were either first or 2nd year cross country runners, you did a great job of leading, both through your words and by example. We thank you for your contributions to the Cherokee Cross Country Program and we wish you the best in college and beyond. As you move on, please remember that, whatever we accomplish in the coming years, you are, and will always be, a part of it.
Underclassmen, you also did a great job. Your accomplishments this year, along with your tremendous attitude, have us excited for next year. Our goals are high. We hope that yours are, as well.
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it, if you can dream it, you can become it.
- William Arthur Ward
Today we begin preparing for the 2014 season. It starts with our imagination. Dare to dream . . . and then work hard to make that dream a reality. Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. Make the commitment to be the best runner you can be and then work at it each day. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish!
Thanks for a great season!
Coach Shak & Coach Cal