Boys’ Cross Country makes improvements for a new season set in good light


The cross country boys hold their Coastal Conference Championship trophy on October 26 at Kellam High School. Left to right sophomore Will Spollen, senior Sean Burtner, senior Dillon Schweers, junior Brent Bailey, junior Jacob Bushey, sophomore Tyler Lipps, and junior CJ Reed. Photo by Mary Ann Magnant.

Lauren Nery, Editor-in-Chief

After a long summer of conditioning, the boys cross country team is seeing major payoffs.
“I think we’re a lot closer than last year because we hang out a lot more,” said sophomore Will Spollen. “We hold each other accountable.”
The team holds to its motto this year: Love, Care, Serve, according to senior Dillon Schweers.
Last year, the boys had an unstable start in the fall with a young team mostly comprised of underclassmen. They lost the region title of which they held for numerous years. However, this fall the boys are lacing up for a major comeback.
“We’re better and faster than last year,” said Will. “Which can be attributed to the fact that we’re much closer.”
Although their times show significant improvement, they have become tighter knit as teammates. When discussing the struggles as individuals and a team in cross country, the boys laughed and could only think of one of the biggest problems teenage boys have: girls.
“At the meet when I’m trying to focus and people like Emily McArthur come up to me like “Oh, Will!” It breaks my focus,” said Will, laughing as his teammates pushed him and laughed with him.
The team this year is a star-studded group, led by junior Brent Bailey and sophomores Will Spollen and Tyler Lipps. In addition to those three seniors Sean Burtner and Dillon Schweers, juniors CJ Reed and Jacob Bushey, and sophomore Davis Young. Although these are only the top eight, there are many more working from the ground up, specifically 24 other runners.
“We’re confident in ourselves, but don’t believe in jinxing ourselves,” said Will.
Although this year holds a promising future for the team, they don’t want to be overly confident in themselves.
“We don’t count our eggs until they’re hatched,” said junior Jacob Bushey.
Since the team has only raced in two invitational 5ks so far there is no telling how much growth or what could happen in the course of a month. The state meet seems far away, but it is always in the back of the runner’s minds. On October 26 the boys reclaimed the Coastal Conference Title, defeating Cox High School and bringing the trophy home to Ocean Lakes.
“[The team] is a very hardworking group full of a ton of great runners and people in general,” said Spotlight Athlete of the Season Brent Bailey.
The runners have made some steady improvements and find themselves ranked highly in the state. Brent is ranked #30 in the state, with a time of 16:05 in the 5k. Will and Tyler trail behind him in places #52 and #68. As a team, the boys are ranked number four in the region, although they have already defeated the team to beat, Riverbend High School, without Brent Bailey at the Albemarle Invitational.
“I have walked the halls of Ocean Lakes for 23 years… It’s not what you leave with people that matters, but what you leave in them,” said coach Mike Nestor.