Cross country places third in state meet

Owen Joyce, Editor-in-Chief

Expectations and disappointment. The cross country team had some high expectations for the state meet Nov. 15. The team came in as a preseason number one, with five seniors in their top seven. The team had nothing but success until the regional and state meets, where they were met with fourth and third place finishes, respectively.

The members of the team were expecting victory coming into the regional meet, thinking they could possibly run the table.

“We are going to win regionals, and we are going to win the state,” John Tolbert, senior varsity cross country captain said in an interview only a few hours before the regional tournament.

Later in the day at the actual tournament, the cross country did not follow through on their captain’s promise to win the region, placing fourth.

“We came in fourth, which is the worst we have done all season,” Tolbert said. “We haven’t finished outside of the top three this year”

For some, this would be reason to panic and call the season a disaster. Yet the members of the team believed in the way they were performing, and believed they could erase the memory of regionals with a win at states.

“I wouldn’t call this season a failure, I think that losing regionals is okay, as long as we still win states,” Tolbert said a few days before the state meet.

However this is where the disappointment factors in; the cross country team did not win states. They came in third, with Chantilly coming in first.

“We were really disappointed, we [the team] thought we came in first. We all had really good races and ran very well, but the other teams just ran better,” senior cross country member Brendan O’Connell said.

While no one can attempt to take this state championship away from Chantilly until next year, it is easy to point out one major factor that really hurt the team’s chances for victory: The knee injury Tolbert suffered in the unlikeliest of places, Chemistry Class.

“It was the weirdest thing,” Steve Hiles, senior captain of junior varsity cross county, said. “We were just sitting in class and I asked him to pass me something. He swiveled in his chair and hit his knee. And that caused the injury,”

The knee injury Tolbert sustained from that collision seemed to make for an almost perfect storm in regards to his ability to run.

“It bruised in a place where my knee will pinch right on it every time I take a step. It means that unless I am completely immobilized, the bruise will not heal,” Tolbert said.

Even though losing at states was a disappointment, the team is still looking forward to more races.

O’Connell said “I’m looking forward to the southeast regional race; we will have a chance to redeem ourselves because we will be going against a lot of the same teams.”