Cross country team working harder

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Photo by Kiana Kamalu

KS Maui cross country runners jog across the elementary campus playground in preparation for the 2011 season. Their practices take them across all three campuses to prepare them for the varied terrains involved in cross country competition.

By Kiana Kamalu, Op-Ed Editor

The season has begun for the KSM cross country team, and there are a few new trends for them this year.

The 39 runners started their practices early to get the team back on their feet, so to speak.

“It’s harder because we started actually getting into the season sooner than last year,” said Naomi Holokai, senior and returning cross country runner. “It’s kind of difficult for me because it has been a long summer.”

The team’s two coaches are Mr. Jon Svenson, head coach, and Kumu Kanani Baz, assistant coach. Mr. Svenson said he will be working the runners a lot differently than he did previously.

“I have higher expectations this year, so I will be harder on the returning runners,” Svenson said. “I am looking forward to seeing where my team is at [at the first meet].”

Svenson said that the team is not 100% for their first meet on this Saturday, August 27, but he expects that. “My goal is not necessarily to have them do their best in the beginning, but to do their best in the championship. It’s all about peaking.”

He said that cross country is not just about running all the time. In fact, their team frequently incorporates fun into their practices. Mondays through Wednesdays are the more rigorous practices, but during the rest of the week, they have activities like scavenger hunts or games of hide-and-go-seek.

Mr. Svenson encourages students to join the team because “a lot of people may not realize the talent they may have [for running].” The sport also builds stamina and can aid athletes who compete in different sports.

Mr. Svenson said he is happy with his team. “They are working hard, and I just want them to do their best.” He looks forward to seeing them excel this year.

The first cross country meet is at home and begins at 9:00 a.m. Students will start in Kana’iaupuni Stadium and run across the finish line on the practice field. There are lots of great places to cheer them on along the way, so bring a hat and your Warrior spirit on Saturday to see the new cross country team in action.