Boys’ cross-country aims for strong finishes

Erin Sullivan , staff reporter

The alarm sounds for 6 a.m. He wakes up, laces his shoes and heads out to meet the team for an eight-mile run. This was a typical summer morning for Senior Captain Charlie Schultz.

Coming off a summer filled with training, Head Coach Kurt Hasenstein says the team is prepared for the season and is eager to see what they can do.

“We run four days a week as a team, and then the guys get together on the weekends to run on their own,” Hasenstein said. “We put a lot of miles in from June 1 until now, so we are ready to go.”

This year’s team is different due to the large number of underclassmen on the team, says Hasenstein. Nevertheless, he is aware of the talent that the younger runners have.

“We don’t have as many returning varsity runners this year as we usually do which is exciting because it gives more kids an opportunity to fill those varsity roles,” Hasenstein said. “There’s a lot of open doors to see what they can do. The [underclassmen] race times have been the best I’ve seen in a long time.”

Senior Captain Joey Pauletto emphasizes that Hasenstein has prepared the team well and his style of coaching creates a supportive environment for everyone.

“[Hasenstein] is more laid back than other [coaches],” Pauletto said. “We still do a lot of work, but he does a good job of balancing the fun and the grind. [He] holds [us] accountable for things like being on time to practice and doing all the workouts.”

Both Schultz and Pauletto hope to break their personal records for the three-mile race, however Pauletto’s hip injury is a significant setback.

“My goal is to overcome all my injuries, and get back to where I was, if not better,” Pauletto said. “My [personal record] for three miles is 15:55 and I want to break that time.”

With the season in full swing, the team is coming together, says Pauletto.

“Running is a different [kind of]sport,” Pauletto said. “When we’re doing our workouts, a lot of the time we’re not with a coach and we’re just talking. If we’re on a long eight-mile run, there’s not much else to do. That helps us form a bond. We get to know each other, and we joke around a lot.”

On Sept. 15, the team competed in a meet at Warren Township High School and did very well, says Pauletto. The team finished second overall and many runners got personal best times.

“Our top five runners [including junior Will Kelly, junior James Kurtzweil, junior Will Houser, Schultz and Pauletto] were all within the top thirty-five [to finish],” Pauletto said. “I got a season best [time of 16:44].”

On Monday, Sept. 17, the Titans hosted an invite and placed third, beating Niles North. The team’s next meet is on Sept. 29 at Peoria High School.