Cross country competes in county and regional championships

Sourish Dey

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Photo courtesy WJ cross country

Seniors Amelia Burkhart, Isabelle Senfaute and Ellie Rogers run in the MCPS championships. This was the first county championship for cross country since the start of the pandemic.

At the county championships on Nov. 1, the WJ girls team finished 1st overall and the boys finished 3rd. Senior Andrew Schell won an individual title. Three days later, the team competed at the regional championships.

The county championship took place at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg.

WJ’s cross country seeks to be a team that has bonded and has unity. Players and coaches alike describe it as the idea of running for your teammates.

“When you become a tight knit team you start learning how to run as a team and that’s where they’ve excelled this year,” cross country coach Tom Martin said.

In that spirit, the girls sought to run together in the race.

“One of our big goals was to race together as a pack which we definitely achieved and it helped us win the race,” senior Amelia Burkhart said.

Junior Dylan Schmidt also finds the togetherness to be helpful.

“It just motivates me because I want to stick with my teammates and run with them,” Schimdt said.

Overall, Martin commends the performance of WJ’s runners at counties.

“Both on the boys and the girls side, we had runners run way past their ranking. Georgia Myers and Caroline Hultman both ran way up past their ranking making it an easy win for WJ. Also, Amelia Burkhart ran way past her ranking and finished in the top 10 and made a huge difference,” Martin said.

Senior Andrew Schell won an individual title with a time of 16 minutes in the 5K race.

“[I was] chugging out a fast first mile and I was pretty tired the entire time but I knew I just had to hold on till I was at the finish line,” Schell said.

On Nov. 4, the cross country team competed in the regional championships which were at High Point Farm. The short time between the races made for a challenging turnaround for the team.

“Racing on two days’ rest is not ideal. However, as young people, it’s good to learn how to deal with adversity. The mark of a good team is to face adversity and then handle it and that’s what I think they will do,” Martin said.

The girls finished 2nd overall and the boys finished 4th. One of the reasons for the decline in performance from counties was that the team was fatigued having run counties just a few days prior.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted and I think the girls team could have won had we not run on Monday, too,” junior Georgia Myers said.

Nonetheless, the team is excited about the state championships at Hereford High school on Saturday, Nov. 13.