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Low numbers not keeping Redhawk Cross Country down

August 16, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Head Coach Katey Holbach

Despite only three varsity runners out for the North Tama boys and girls cross country teams each, the Redhawks will aim to medal their runners individually and build the program back up through the upcoming years.

On the lady's side, returning letterwinners Molly Kvidera and Jordan Rigel will be joined by Sabryna Rigel. Though unable to qualify for a team score with only three runners, Tessa Dvorak has graduated and Polina Litvinova completing her foreign exchange session at North Tama. Kvidera returns for her senior season after joining last season at the insistence of Dvorak. After nearly breaking a school record last season and enjoying the challenge of improving her running, Kvidera is looking to take the next step this season.

Article Photos

The North Tama JV/Varsity Cross Country Team. Left to right- Chris Castor, Luke DeBoef, Molly Kvidera, Sabryna Rigel, Jordan Rigel, Grace Lidgett, Olivia Ketter, Jamie Jacobs, and Isabel Hallett. Not pictured- Logan Kennedy and Juan Sanchez.

"I like the fact I can challenge myself to beat my own personal record each time," Kvidera said. "I want to beat that school record of 22:29 this season and keeping improving at each meet."

"With bringing back some of our older runners, like Molly, we bring back some positivity to the team and a lot of encouragement to be here even with the small numbers," second year coach Katey Holbach said. "They are willing to be here and compete. They are mature role models for our larger group of junior high kids out this year."

For the men, sophomore Logan Kennedy returns as a letterwinner, joined by Chris Castor and Juan Sanchez. While one runner from last year chose not to go out this year, the number remains similar to last year and North Tama will not be able to score as team with three runners.

"There aren't any real concerns with being unable to score as a team, but my hope is they all go out and compete to score themselves," Holbach said. "I think Logan Kennedy has a really good chance of having a strong season with doing a lot of condition over the summer with the Colt Cadets. He's built strength and was getting really quick at the end of last season. Going into this season with experience will help him."

Castor is another runner with experience on the team and through running track. The junior already is setting goals for himself, ready to punch his ticket to the State Cross Country Meet and beat 19 minutes to do so.

"I like working hard and being able to train my teammates," Castor said. "I started midway through last season and knocking off a lot of time by the end. I just want to cut off more time this season to get to State."

Though the team lacks the numbers this year, achievements are still possibly individually for athletes like Castor, Kvidera, Kennedy and their teammates.

"A successful season in my mind is the kids breaking PRs all over the season," Holbach said. "They can go out and improve every meet, and we hope to not lose anyone throughout the season. There's a lot of competitive teams in our area. We pinpoint individuals for us to run against and compete against."

Holbach also hopes to use this year to help steady the cross country program in the future with more members. Junior high students run with the older students and learn from them.

"It's great coaching this team," Holbach said. "Even though we are really small, there's a lot exciting things happening. We have a lot junior high runners that will continue to build the high school program going forward. Everyone brings a good attitude even with a mentally tough sport like this. A positive attitude makes a season better for everyone."

The combined high school/junior high team may only have around 15 people, but it's an experience that Kvidera and her teammates all agree is a positive one going forward.

"It's an enjoyable time that allows you to run with people I normally wouldn't," Kvidera said. "Running 3.1 miles is a long ways, but it's a something I've come to enjoy over last year."

The North Tama Redhawks will begin their 2018 season on Thursday, August 30 against South Hardin in Eldora at the Pine Lake Country Club.



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