Girls cross country: 13th at Lake Park invite, running towards sectionals

By: Tom Scearce

Girl’s cross country is revving up again and looking forward to a stronger, more energetic season.

After a pretty standard season last year, coach Mark Heintz and the team are looking forward to see what comes their way this season.

“Last season was a good starting point,” Heintz said. “It got people interested in sports and they really started to figure out how to become good runners. The newer runners felt welcomed. They really bought into the culture that we were trying to establish.”

Of course, there are going to be some changes in practices this season.

“The level of training has, and will continue to, become more intense. We’re also running more than we did last year. At the same time, we’ve increased mileage and intensity,” Heintz said.

Heintz has one goal for the team this season. One that has not happened in over a decade.

“I would like to see them qualify for sectionals, obviously, and that hasn’t happened in 14 years,” Heintz said.

The runners are anticipating many things this season. However, most are looking forward to one thing in particular: becoming closer.

“I’m looking forward to coming together as a team and more like a family,” junior Loredana Lappano said. “I feel like we’re going to have a stronger bond.”

Being close is an important aspect of being a member of any team. So Heintz organizes special team building activities each year. In years past, the team went to a special team building workshop in Lake Geneva. The team didn’t do that this year due to an excess number of students. Instead, they brought in a Outdoor Recreational Activity expert from Northern Illinois University to focus on the same principle.

“Some girls have been running for four years, and for others it’s their third day, so we want to make sure everyone feels included, and no cliques are being formed,” Heintz said.

Senior Caroline Pejcinovic is overly excited about the team this year and can’t wait to see what the season brings.

“The cross country team this year is superb; everyone is really fast and friendly. We really are like a complete family,” Pejcinovic said. “It’s been a great way to start the year.”

On Sept. 8 at the Lake Park Invite, the team made 14 lifetime personal records. They went from being 20th last year, to 13th place this year.

While it’s too early to predict anything, one thing is for sure: the girls can’t wait to see what the course will bring.

“I really just want to run better than last year,” Lappano said. “But for now, I can’t wait to see what happens.”