Grace Vikings’ Cross Country Season

G – R – A – C – E, that’s how we spell victory. GO GRACE!

This is the cheer that was heard at the start of a cross country meet when our Grace Vikings were racing. 41 athletes joined the cross country team this season, 16 of them were 3rd graders who were thrilled to finally be old enough to join a Grace sport. Cross country starts immediately in the first week of school, and the first meet (race) was just two weeks into the season. Coach McCabe and Coach Garcia were cautious with the younger, inexperienced runners of the group. They did not want to cause injury to the young runners or make them dislike the sport. The young athletes rose the the occasion and surprised both coaches within the first couple meets. Not only did the 3rd graders learn to complete a mile race without stopping, but they figured out what it means to race. By the end of the season, the coaches saw major improvement in their mile times, and growing ambition for the sport. 3rd grader, Yonah, at the end of the season, inquired as to how he could make it to state next year. He’s not the only runner who has that goal in mind for next season.

3rd Grade Vikings

All of the runners from 3rd to 8th grade have much to be proud of. When you compare their times throughout the season, most runners show a dramatic improvement by season end. Coach McCabe and Coach Garcia were so blessed to have two wonderful volunteers who have shared their time with Grace runners year after year, Coach Mason and Coach O’Connor. With their help, the coaches were able to create a variety of different workouts, including a team favorite: 400-meter repeats.

In 400-meter repeats, runners are split into groups based on their racing pace. Everyone starts at the same starting point, but go in waves. Every group runs 400 meters at the pace set by Coach McCabe. Once they complete the 400 meters in the time Coach McCabe indicated, athletes will walk back to the starting point and repeat another 400 meters. Depending on their group, they will repeat this process 3 to 6 times. This workout teaches the athletes that they can run when they are tired, which is of utmost importance during a tough race.

4th Grade – 8th Grade Vikings

The Varsity Boys team won 1st place in their first meet at St. John’s.

Varsity girls won 2nd place and varsity boys won 1st place at the St. Peter’s Invitational.

Both the girls’ and boys’ cross country teams gave their best efforts at the Lutheran School State Meet Championship in Bloomington on Saturday, October 15. The girls finished in 5th place, led by 6th grader Eden Ling. Laney Juel (7), Fiona Lowden (5), Asha Sekhar (7), Ellen Claud (7) and Quinn McClurg (5) all contributed to the great effort.  The boys’ team finished 6th overall, just 8 points from the last spot needed to qualify for Nationals. Augie Sterritt (8) gave his best performance, followed closely by Matthew Huffman (7) and Lukas Cohen (8).  Samson Thomas (6), Adam Versteeg (6), Torsten Lyle (3), Gabriel Brucato (8), Anders Lyle (5), and Andy Leininger (7) all showed their commitment to making this a fantastic meet for the Vikings.

Bass (4), Grey (4), Zeus (3), and Henry (3) bravely ran the open race at state which was their first and only 2-mile race the entire season. They did amazing, making Coach McCabe and Coach Garcia incredibly proud.

Three Vikings qualified for the Lutheran Cross Country National Meet as individuals. Eden Ling, Augie Sterritt, and Matthew Huffman advanced to race in Mequon, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 22.

Our Cross County National Qualifiers (Matthew was unable to make it).

The season was incredible. Every single runner accomplished great things. We know that if our coaches were given the opportunity to write about each individual runner, what they accomplished, and how they grew during the season, this blog post would be MUCH too long! So, instead, we will leave you with the end of season Cross Country Booklet. You can learn all about our runners and their race times in there.

Congratulations, Cross Country Vikings! We look forward to next fall!