There are some sports, such as wrestling, where the scoring may be done as a team, but the competition is undeniably individual.
Some might argue that cross country is the same way while others would say you can absolutely look to a teammate for support when the going gets tough, making it much more of team sport than some might give it credit for. The truth is probably somewhere in between and however a squad chooses to view the situation is how their reality is formed. That means for those that want a team dynamic, they can have it while others who prefer the individual approach can follow that path, as well.
It's simply a matter of what's right for each set of coaches and athletes.
"Running in a pack is what our teams will do this year. We have so many runners that run well together and push each other to do better. In a pack it helps the motivation of each runner and pushes them to go faster. In the end it helps us keep a low team score," said coach Jason Waterman. "Some things we can work on are pushing ourselves every time we are out running. Sometimes it seems that we can be a little afraid of success, but I know with time we will get over that."
One unexpected addition to this team is junior Duke Newsted. That's because, in order to be a part of this squad Newsted had to decide to quit football and choose wrestling as his top sport. Joinging this squad was about increasing his stamina for the winter sport season after a summer spent grappling both in-state and out.
"Duke has been our number two runner all preseason. Chris Heimann is also new to thecross country team this year. Chris is a sophomore and has been consistently in the top three at every practice," Waterman said. "We are in the Clarence Cannon Conference. In cross country you really don't have a record, but our girls did win conference for the third year in a row and our boys finished third."
When it comes to returning athletes, one who has been especially busy the past several months was senior Peyton Davis. That's because as soon as the Missouri State High School Activities Association track and field meet in Jefferson City concluded at the end of the 2017-18 school year he was busy training for and competing in several different decathalon's.
"On our boys team we have seniors Nicklaus Toedebusch, Patrick Finnegan and Davis, juniors Dallas Lewis and Austin Dawson and sophomores Seth Beard, Logan Bird, Kile Chitwood, Drew Hibbs, Nate Riddle, Cody Smith and Logan West," said Waterman. "With the girls cross country team we have seniors Kyra Dickerson, Schuylar Hatton and Mackenzie Lynn, junior Gracie Schultz and sophomores Schyler Angell, Erika Bourgeois, Delaney Mast and Lily Stidham."