Cross country enters the season with strong senior leadership and hopes that safety protocols won’t affect meets.
The team opens the season 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Silver Lake.
The Charger interviewed head coach Roger Alderman at the beginning of the season.
How are you feeling about the season so far overall?
“We are a little lower in numbers than I would like. We started to pick up a few more in the past few days. Two days of practice, it’s hard to see what shape we’re in yet. I knew we got some work to do but we’re going so I’m happy.”
Have you noticed any strengths or weaknesses on the team yet?
“It looks like we probably haven’t had as much conditioning this summer as we normally have. They seem to be working really well together though, getting along with each other and that’s always a big thing.”
What challenges have you faced or are you facing due to Covid-19?
“We’ve had to think through a few of the things we do. There are things like some rollers we use for rub downs so now those need to be something that I have enough for everyone because we can’t share and I have to clean those off after practice. We have a few other changes with how we’re sanitizing water bottles and things like that. Just trying to keep kids apart when we’re outside and don’t have masks when we’re running, but we’re getting along.”
How has Covid-19 changed how meets are going to run?
“The biggest concern seems to be the start of the race cause that’s where at some meets you have over a hundred kids in a small area. There’s been talk of having masks on until the start of the race, possibly some places using masks for maybe the first four hundreds meters or so of the race. Then the kids can take them off once the pack has spread out some more. There is also talk about possibly going to smaller meets to avoid the big starts. That’s the main thing people have worried about that and just being careful with our helpers making sure that we have the proper equipment to avoid contact where we can.”
Who do you think some of the key runners are going to be on the team?
We always lean on our seniors to kind of lead and show the way. We’ve got Kimi Buckhanan on the girls side and Eli Mumpower, Isaac Lyra, Austin Henderson, Peter Stuhlsatz on the guys side. We’ve also got quite a few returning runners. I don’t like to pick out any individuals a whole lot early on but our seniors are always kind of the key.”
Do you have any new talent that you are excited to have on to the team?
“We did bring up a few runners from our junior high program that have already run there for a couple of years and now are moving into high school. So we’re kind of excited about adding those in. We had a new student that came out yesterday so we’ll see how he adds to our mix.”
What kind of things have you been focusing on in practices?
“So the early season is usually spent working on our endurance with just the longer runs. We’ll start to work in some of the speed work later in the week, but to start off it’s always the longer runs.
What are some of your big events or meets this year?
“Usually one of our big meets is the Wamego meet which is the second meet of the year, but that’s pretty much up in the air right now. It usually draws hundreds of runners from all over the state, so they’re looking at ways to limit how many people attend. So that’s one meet that we might have to reduce. We always target league, regional, and state so in the end those will be the three meets we’re looking forward to the most.”
When is the first meet and can people come watch?
“Silver Lake is our first meet on Saturday September fifth. As of now they are not limiting spectators, so people are welcome to come watch it.”