On November 8, 2014, Catoctin High’s Cross Country team competed for the 2A State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School, near northern Baltimore County. The sheer determination, love of the sport, and countless hours practice led the Catoctin Boys’ Cross Country Team to win states for the third year in a row.
“It was perfect cross country weather, low 50s with a little bit of wind,” said Coach Terri Gibbons. It wasn’t just the nice weather that aided this group of young men to win this three-mile race.
Throughout the months of training—beginning in August and ending in November—this team practiced every day for two hours, some staying longer just to help each other out. Running next to a group of people every day really makes a team grow strong.
“A lot of it was just how much of a family we are. At the end of the day, at race time, it’s good to know that the person you’re standing next to has your back just as much as you have theirs,” said Patrick Van Der Cruyssen, who placed fifth in the championship.
Coaches and families were very proud. “They all work hard all the time. The boys team does a very phenomenal job of working together and pumping each other up,” said Coach Gibbons. Winning states not only brings them victory, it gives each team member a feeling of accomplishment, achieved from all of the training and dedication, which will only help them with their future goals.
Zach Gascho, who came in first place, winning the overall championship, said, “I think that all the training that our team has done extremely helped us. We got some great workouts in over the season that I think made us prepared for states. Running has given me a work ethic that makes me set higher goals for myself, and I make sure to work every day to achieve those goals and I plan to continue using this throughout my life.”
Not only did the boys cross country team succeed, the Catoctin Girls’ Cross Country Team also did a phenomenal job in the race, placing seventh overall.
“The girls also do a tremendous job of working together. They do this thing called “little sister, big sister,” where upper classmen and lower classmen have an exchange of gifts once in a while—they even give each other motivational quotes,” said Coach Terri Gibbons.
Even being injured, many players have kept a positive mindset. Sophomore cross country runner, Lilie Perella, said “…all I can hope for is to be injury free next year and just train my butt off for states. Last year, my freshman year was better than this year. I want to make my junior and senior year count.”
Girls who qualified in the 2A Cross Country State Championships: Bella Kreiner, Molly Janc, Julien Webster, Lillie Perella, Sienna Caselle, Courtney Orndorff, Hannah Romsburg.
Boys who qualified in the 2A Cross Country State Championships: Zach Gascho, Patrick Van Der Cruyssen, Demetrius Patterson, Paul Slotwinski, Eric Myers, Andrew Douwes, Keith Gasior.