WICHITA, Kan.—The crowd cheered as the starting official called out for the race to start. Hearts pounded, and the only thought in each Northwest runner’s head was the greatness they were expected to achieve. The official signaled with his arm and fired the gun before the 2011boys varsity team could overcome their nervous mindset. This resulted in the most disappointing regional meet the team could have imagined.
“We came into the meet knowing that we would have to run some of our best times ever to make it to state,” senior Matthew McCormick said. “I think it was just all of the pressure that was on us to do well which made us perform badly.”
“[The summer workouts] help build up our endurance quite a bit,” said senior Maxwell Surmeier. “Plus, going to Colorado in the high altitude really builds up our lung capacity.”
The entire team, including McCormick and Surmeier, have pushed themselves to work harder and be better this season. Senior Joey Alberts, juniors Joel Roberts and Justin Riffel, and freshman Bryce Griggs are projected to be large contributors. With such depth, consistently quicker times are to be expected.
“This is a completely different year from the last. We have trained harder, longer and with more determination than last year,” McCormick said. “We knew we had to change how we approached the season after last year’s disappointment, and that is exactly what we have done.”
After the first meet, Roberts already sees improvement in times from last year’s regional. He hopes for the team to be no less than third in the city, and to do well at regionals and get to state.
“I feel like our times are getting faster,” Roberts said. “My personal goal is to come close to reaching the 17 minute mark by giving it everything I can.”
Disappointment is not an option for the team. Surmeier believes that the Grizzlies are a potential threat that will be overlooked by other schools. As a senior, Surmeier has been through years of success and failure, and is looking to finally show what Northwest boys’ cross country is all about.
“The seniors, including myself, have really changed our mindset from ‘we have four years of this’ to ‘this is our last chance to show what we have in us,’” Surmeier said. “I think a lot of people will be impressed with what we bring to the table.”
Northwest’s next appearance will be on Saturday, September 15 at Cessna Activity Center.