Pre-season summer sessions for the Mansfield cross country team ended on Friday, August 2. The team concluded their organized team activities with a bit of splash and dash just 11 days before the start of school.
Select members of the Tiger long distance team were rewarded with a trip to the Alma Aquatic Park to close their pre-season training schedule. It was at the Alma amusement facility that the players enjoyed a splash in the pool and a dash of salt on watermelon dessert after an afternoon cookout.
“This has become a real tradition like so many things we do as a team,” stated MHS coach John Mackey. “It’s pretty exclusive however. You have to earn your Tiger stripes to make the trip.”
Mansfield saw solid numbers put forth near maximum days at evening running sessions and weight training through the month of July. However, not everyone completely reached the high end quota of workouts to earn the reward trip.
“The athletes that went on the trip averaged nearly 90 percent attendance through the summer,” commented Mackey. “We have high expectations for the season and that requires high expectations for the summer. You had to make some sacrifices to meet the goal.”
Of the 15 athletes that earned their “walk in the park”, seven were sophomores. John Branche, Ethan Chapman, Shelby Cole, McKenzie Griffin, Harleigh Mars, Faith Rainwater, and Hope Rainwater peopled that tenth grade list.
Senior Delilah McKusker and junior Renden Emery were the oldest players to fulfill the requirements.
Emery was one of two players to chart perfect attendance. The other was his seventh grade sister Meghan Emery.
Trinity Triska, Raine Hecox, Eden Mounts, Lita Hecox, and Ashton Hinkle bridged the remaining attendance club catalog. In order, the five accounted for another seventh grader, two eighth graders, and a pair of freshmen added to the list.
From the 4-week training block that preceded the Alma reward trip, all participating Tiger runners produced 975.6 collective miles. According to their coach, that was just short of their 1,000 mile goal.
“Our numbers were well ahead of schedule for the first couple of weeks,” noted Mackey. “Our dual sport kids were pulled away with cheer, volleyball, and football camps over the last six days. That left us a little short, but the total was impressive nonetheless.”
The cross country team will take a small break from team sessions for the remainder of summer. The unit will resume group activities when classes begin on August 13.
According to Mansfield’s coach, individual workouts will undoubtedly continue despite the recess from OTA’s. Dedicated runners found through the month of July will most likely resume individually prescribed workouts they started back in May.