2020 Boys Cross Country Preview

The Boys Cross Country team is looking to build on last season’s success.

A+few+members+of+the+boys+Cross+Country+Team+pose+for+a+photo+after+the+Gateway+Cross+Country+Challenge.

Courtesy of Colin Ring

A few members of the boys Cross Country Team pose for a photo after the Gateway Cross Country Challenge.

After bringing back all top 5 runners from a squad that placed fifth at the state meet a year ago, hopes are high for the Westminster boys cross country team. Despite going the whole summer not knowing if there would be a season because of sports restrictions due to the Coronavirus, the group put in many hours of offseason work and prayed that it was going to pay off. 

That’s why, when low contact sports opened up for St Louis Country on September 8, the senior-laden group knew they had to make their second chance count. Senior varsity runner Hayden Turley is extremely thankful to be able to compete again – a sentiment echoed throughout the team.

“Knowing how hard we’ve worked ever since the last season, nearly every day of the week, it’s really gratifying to know that my abilities can finally be tested.” Turley said.

Although Westminster has yet to have their first team competition, Turley and many other members of the team decided to do an “unattached” race. This means they could not wear Westminster jerseys or score as a team, but still compete in races at the Gateway Cross Country Challenge, on September 11th. 

The potential that was displayed in this race was evident for the entire team, Colin Ring, senior, finished 1st, Turley 3rd, and Thomas Gorline, senior, finished fifth out of a group of 75 runners. All three Cats ran faster paces than last season at the same time of year.  

Gorline observed the success of the race from a more modest perspective.

 “After an almost 9 month hiatus, we did very well,” said Gorline. 

It makes sense that Gorline would not want to get too excited after the first race because, as everyone knows, cross country is a long season and there is a lot of room to improve throughout. One source of instant improvement for the team will be the addition of both Hunter Freiner, senior  top runner from last year’s squad, as well as Caleb Moellenhoff, senior, who was a huge part of Westminster’s 2018 team. 

Both Freiner and Moellenhoff are getting back into shape after nursing ongoing injuries. Freiner, who owns a personal record of 16:56, and Moellenhoff, who ran a 17:24 as a sophomore, have the potential to be key pieces of this year’s varsity team

“I came into this season injured, and I’ve been slowly working my way back to full health. This season I want to try and grow individually in speed in order to help the team as whole. Hopefully we will be able to make a deep run this season and maybe place at state!” said Freiner.

In spite of the uncertainty that continues to surround which meets they are doing, and the anxiety of not knowing whether or not they will be allowed to compete in the postseason beyond their region in November, the boys are still pressing forward.

Caleb Moellenhoff is not scared to share his goal for the team this season.

“Our central goal as with anything we do is to glorify God, and, through working hard with that in mind, I believe this team can do some great things.” 

Do those “great things” consist of a podium finish at state or even the coveted state championship? No one knows for certain, but, no matter what happens, the Westminster Boys Cross Country team is going to enjoy the ride and the opportunity to compete.

The boys team ran their first race on Thursday, September 17 at the Lutheran North Invitational. Their next meet will be Saturday, Sept. 26 at Priory.