Men’s XC goes undefeated, powers through obstacles

Alex Entz/Senior Writer

For the first time since 2004, and only the second time ever, the CFHS men’s cross country team has gone undefeated in the regular season with the astonishing record of 96-0 after their victory in last Thursday’s MVC Divisional meet. Now the team is looking to do something that the 2004 team was unable to do — take first place at the State race, held in Fort Dodge on the morning of Oct. 31 after placing in the top three (ensuring an automatic trip to State) at this Thursday’s Districts meet.

Senior varsity runner Paul Strike summed up last Thursday’s MVC Divisional meet.

“We won by eight points over Cedar Rapids Prairie, who are ranked fifth,” Strike said. “The Divisionals race mostly just decides who will be All-Conference members; we have all but sealed up our trip to the State meet.”

Head coach Troy Becker added, “We have had our success with the team approach, and by having the best seven guys.”

Unfortunately, just three days after the Divisionals meet, varsity runner Adam Streicher was diagnosed with a case of H1N1, also known as the Swine Flu. This sometimes-deadly strain of influenza could keep him off the team for several days, and likely will spread to other teammates. Strike, noting some flu-like symptoms, laughed it off, saying, “I haven’t got checked out yet, but I don’t feel like a swine.”

Becker, speaking before Streicher’s illness became apparent, noted the team’s need to stay healthy.

“If we can avoid all the sickness going around, I think we have a great chance of winning the district team title. … This year, the state meet might just come down to which team can be lucky enough to avoid getting sick at the wrong time,”he said. “Actually, I feel pretty lucky right now.”
Despite the odd turn in the team’s health, the team is still drawing confidence from their regular season success. Senior varsity runner Joey Sevcik explained the team’s 96-0 run.

“We’ve been lucky to consistently perform well,” he said. “We worked hard in the off-season and it is paying off now.”

In addition to the first place finish at Divisionals, the team had all seven of its members honored with all-conference team selections. First Team All-Conference selections included Jacob Tayloe, Tanner Reyhons and Andrew Halloran. Second Team All Conference selections included Jakob Stoner and Sevcik. Honorable Mention All-Conference runners included Streicher and Strike. That the entire team was selected to some level of All Conference recognition speaks to the depth and sheer talent of this year’s team.

“The biggest reason for our success was commitment that several of our guys made since last year to increasing their mileage,” Becker said.
This team has seemed to excel in adverse conditions this year, as seen by the team’s repeated first-place finishes through driving rain and unseasonable cold.

“We train and race in whatever conditions we have on that day,” Becker said. “Worrying about the conditions is for the weak minded, and this team is mentally tough.”

Sevcik explained the team’s view.

“The conditions can be tough, but it’s fun for us to run in,” he said.

In order to prepare for the State meet, the team will begin a two week “taper,” where they cut back on their weekly mileage from 50 miles down to 25 miles.

“It’s used to give our legs a rest,” Strike said. “Our main goal isn’t districts, it’s state.”

On the note of State, Sevcik had a few words about the team’s strategy.

“We’re going to watch a lot of running movies, and have some team meals at (local pizza parlor) Zio Johno’s,” Sevcik said. “This helps amp us up for State.”

With an eye on the not-too-distant State meet, Becker judged the team’s chances.

“It will be hard to finish first in State unless we can find a way to put a couple of guys in the top 20,” Becker said. “The good news is, we have several guys that could do that on a given day.”

Class of 2014

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