ARCHIVE PHOTO FROM 2020-2021 SEASON
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
Dalton High School’s cross country team has a packed roster and some new faces. There are 16 athletes each on the boys and girls teams. Dalton’s coach Jodi Augspurger said the teams have been bonding and the athletes are excited to have a large team this year.
Over the summer, the runners started preparing for this season by focusing their training on building a base for the season. According to Augspurger, they got in some solid distance runs. In addition to the practice workouts, the athletes also created a routine that they can follow before and after races.
The Dawgs’ goals for the beginning of the season revolve around handling the high late-summer temperatures and gaining confidence, and they have targets for success later in the season.
“Some short-term goals include learning how to keep a positive mindset while running in the heat and humidity, as well as continuing to work on confidence building,” said Augspurger. “Some long-term goals include improving times such that we can do well at the WCAL and district meets.”
Each new season brings the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and notice areas for improvement. Augspurger said this year she would like to see the girls team run consistent mile splits and for the boys to do more packing so they will finish their races closer to one another.
Both the boys and girls teams made it to the regional meet last year. Most of the girls from that team are returning. The boys team is in a tougher spot, as they lost some experienced athletes to graduation, notably Evan Hodkinson and Mitchell Kutz, who made it to the state cross country meet last year.
“Because we have all but two of our top seven girls returning from last year, these girls are driven to make it to regionals again this year,” said Augspurger. “They know what changes need to be made in order for them to make it to the next step. But, as is always the case, everyone has to stay healthy. Having lost three of our top four runners, the boys are in a very different situation. They know what it’s like to work hard and do well, but they also know that they have to work even harder this year and it’ll be tough given that over half of the team is new to the sport.”
Read the complete story in the Aug. 25 edition.