Falcons race to state

Cross country teams prepare to compete at state competition

Senior Alex Schwindt pushes past a competitor.

Tori Dierikx, Reporter

“Get focused, get ready, this is it,” girls cross country coach Arron Rietz said.

The 20 minute bus ride from West High School to Crow Creek park was full of excitement and tension. On Thursday, Oct. 18, the cross country teams competed at Crow Creek for the regional meet.

High expectations were set for the boys and girls cross country teams. A few in particular were expected to achieve various awards. After a long and successful season, the day had come for West cross country athletes to prove themselves, and the hard work they had put in.

Before the meet started, the team walked the course. Three signs stood out: ‘The Incinerator’, ‘The Terminator’ and ‘The Exterminator’. These are the names of hills the athletes’ spikes would have to claw at to surpass. It was going to be an exhaustive meet.

“I expect it to be tough,” freshman Grace Schneiderman said.

Moments before the gun sounded, the girls teams lined up at the starting line. Determination set itself on the faces of the athletes. And then they were off.

Hearts pounding, sweat pouring, legs throbbing, the girls ran like their lives depended on it. Or like their road to state depended on it, which it did.

It’s great. It’s been a long time coming. This has been my best season by far, and finally we’re here now

— senior Kameron Morgan

After roughly 25 minutes, the girls cross country runners had finished the meet. As some were trying to catch their breath, others were laying on the ground, sick and red after the hard-run race. It was obvious how relentlessly the runners fought.

As the girls cooled down, the boys started to warm up, and after just a few minutes, the gun sounded again, and a mass of limbs were fighting to be first.

One runner, sporting the color red, stood out. Senior Kameron Morgan was at the head of the pack, showing the hard work he had put in all season.

Students and fans alike ran after their player, yelling to keep pushing, while some moms even took the liberty of running right behind their player yelling encouraging words. Despite the loud crowd and audible support, it came down to one simple factor: who was the fastest?

At the end of the race, West’s very own Kameron Morgan finished fifth overall for boys, earning himself a ride to the state meet.

Head coach Marty Leal had nothing but positive things to say afterward.

“The kids gave their maximum effort. I’ve got to see [Kameron] grow from a goofy kid to a leader who works hard,” Leal said.

Morgan’s leadership and focus showed through at the regional meet.

“It’s great. It’s been a long time coming. This has been my best season by far, and finally we’re here now,” Morgan said.

The state cross country meet will take place Oct. 27, at Kennedy Park in Fort Dodge.