As the seasons slowly begin to shift, fall sports are gearing up for their 2014 seasons. The STC Cross Country team has been holding morning practices since Aug. 11. The team is coached by veteran STC staff member George Kuhter and he is assisted by fellow staff member, Robert Tyynismaa. For those who may not be familiar with the sport of cross-country, it is both an individual and a team sport. Individual runners are judged on their personal times and teams by an overall points system. Cross-country is run on an open terrain that can be grass-covered with rolling land and frequent but smooth turns. High school course lenght for girls is approximately 2.4 miles while boys run 3.1 miles.
Kuhter had this to say about the sport of cross-country, " Cross Country is unique in that it is a season long process. We need to be ready for each meet but in the long run our goal is not the beginning but the end of the season. Our main goals are focused on the last three of our twelve meets of the year. We want to run our best at conference, districts, and eventually the State Meet in Fort Dodge. With that in mind, we will focus everything on that long-term goal. That is our team philosophy and knowing that we only have one or two solid senior runners on either team, the focus of the team switches to an exact goal as the team, the big picture! We may not be ready with this bunch until they are seniors but along the way it is going to be fun to watch them grow and watch what they will do."
This season the cross-country team is a particularly young team, which has its advantages and disadvantages. While the team may lack in experience there is also an opportunity to build something very special. Kuhter recognizes the challenges that come with a young team saying, "The hardest thing we are going to have to do is remember how young our kids are on this team. Our biggest asset and maybe the biggest hindrance this year could be our age. We are moving to a new conference, with new competition, and a new attitude. The kids will know that they can compete but we will have to wait and see how we get them ready for the task. Our biggest competition will be ourselves this year."
Members of the STC Cross Country team work on post run stretching during the first week of practice on Aug. 12.
News Herald Photo/Alllison Graham
The boys will be led by two experienced runners, Robert Tyynismaa (son of assistant coach, Robert Tyynismaa) and Trevor Yuska. Blake Keller is another name to pay attention to. Keller is a three-season athlete for the Trojans, who just came off of the summer baseball season and also ran track last season for the Trojans. "Our best boys runner could be Blake Keller who is going to be competitive in every race he runs and as a sophomore, still has a lot to learn. All three of these guys will be backed up by some very solid performers. As each of the boys learn how to run and get the experience they need, we will continue to succeed and the skies are the limit this year," said Kuhter.
As for the girls Kuhter stated, "Our girls are going to get another year under their belts and that experience we got last year at districts, running against and in the mix for a state birth, gave us valuable experience that will pay off in the next few years. We have a solid group of girls from top to bottom. Naomi Hoskey is our strongest senior and she is coming off a very frustrating year. Our sophomore class of girls will be competing on the team in practice as much as they will be on the course in meets. Many people don't realize how successful this bunch of girls was last year. In every meet they never finished lower than fourth place and that includes a very tough conference and missed qualifying for state by 18 points. It is going to be a very good year for us if we can stay healthy and follow up last year with a positive attitude."
STC Cross Country Meet Schedule 2014
Thurs. Aug. 28 @ MCC Cross Country Course, Marshalltown (JV-Varsity only), 4:30 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 9 @ Grinnell Ahrens Park, Grinnell, 5:00 p.m.
Thurs. Sept. 11 @ MCC Cross Country Course, Marshalltown (JV-Varsity only), 4:30 p.m.
Mon. Sept. 15 @ Otter Creek, STC Invitational, 4:30 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 20 @ BCLUW Invitational, BCLUW High School, 9:30 a.m.
Tues. Sept. 23 @ Vinton Rogers Park, Vinton (JV-Varsity only), 4:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 4 @ South Hardin Invitational, Eldora, 9:30 a.m.
Tues. Oct. 7 @ Dike New Hartford Fox Ridge Golf Course, Dike, 4:30 p.m.
Thurs. Oct. 9 @ Montezuma Invitational, Montezuma, 4:30 p.m.
Mon. Oct. 13 @ Middle School WaMac conference Meet hosted by Center Point-Urbana, 4:30 p.m.
Thurs. Oct. 16 @ WaMac Conference Meet hosted by Clear Creek-Amana, @ Universtiy of Iowa, 4:30 p.m.
Thurs. Oct. 23 @ Districts TBA
Sat. Nov. 1 @ Iowa State Meet, Fort Dodge
*middle school cross country is involved in meets not marked (JV-Varsity only)