Throughout the 2016 Cross Country season, the team remained focused on one goal: to glorify God with the talents He has blessed each one with. That theme was consistent during practices, meets, and team prayer time, and was evidenced by their desire to work hard and do their best.
It was great to have our top two runners from last season return this season! Junior Dewey Rapson and Sophomore Wendy Busenitz brought excellent team leadership and mentoring to the new members of the team. This provided Coach Ryan Long with confidence in their ability to lead team practices during the times he was away traveling for work.
Our returning team captains, Dewey and Wendy, were joined this year by three newcomers: Sophomores Taylor Ballard and Kaitlyn Peters, and Junior Nathan Bruce. Nathan joined the team mid-season, so he missed our early conditioning practices. He worked hard though, and after a month of practices, he had shaved off a significant amount of time!
Taylor and Kaitlyn did a fantastic job of working together, pushing each other, and encouraging one another to do their best. They finished within seconds of each other at every meet, and we were all excited when they both qualified for nationals at our first ever home meet, the Eagles Invitational!
Dewey started the season off with nagging knee pain, so his initial conditioning work was mostly done in the weight room on a bike. Thankfully, God allowed him to heal quickly, and he was back to running within a couple of weeks. He worked hard all season long, leading the way for the team in every practice.
Wendy's season was impressive, with an exciting finish in Mississippi. She went into the national meet ranked 9th, and she finished the race in second place! Her finish was good enough to be named All-American.
We are very thankful for the prayer support and encouragement we received throughout the season. It does make the miles go by easier! We enjoyed a great trip to Mississippi for Nationals. The course was in great shape, and the weather was absolutely perfect!
Thanks to the Lord for the strength and endurance He provided all throughout this season. To God be the glory!