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Redhawk XC season comes to an end in Cedar Rapids

October 26, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

The season is over for North Tama cross country as the Redhawks were unable to qualify anyone for State at District meet in Cedar Rapids Washington on Saturday, Oct. 20, but will look to their future with hope for next season.

"Coach Samuelson and I made it clear to our runners that our expectation was for them to run their absolute best and to not leave anything for "next time,'" coach Katey Holbach said. "The kids were pretty vocal about wanting to do the same thing. We also talked about going into the race with the right mindset. Not to start off with an excuse of "well, it's kind of windy, or I'm tired today, etc.'"

For the girls, it was the final race for senior Molly Kvidera, taking 55th place overall with a time of 24:02. Elina Aghabekyan took 100th place in her first and likely only season during her foreign exchange adventure to Traer, clocking in a time of 28:26. Jordan Rigel followed closely behind in 103rd with a time of 28:53.

Article Photos

From left to right: Logan Kennedy, Elina Aghabekyan, Molly Kvidera, Jordan Rigel, Sam Snyder and coach Katey Holbach. Photo submitted.

"Molly will definitely be missed next year," Holbach said. "She was my fastest female runner and set the pace at practices for the girls and was a great role model for the younger athletes. She was also the leader that I could turn to when I needed help. She got the team together to warm up at meets and got them to the starting line when they needed to be there. Elina is also a senior that I am losing this season, and her grit and determination to do well will be missed. She was hurt during the season, but that never stopped her. She always told me she'd do her absolute best and pushed it to the limit. Her positive attitude will also be missed next year."

Only two boys competed for North Tama at Districts, but both runners give Holbach and the Redhawk cross country program something to look forward to in the future. Sam Snyder was just shy of qualifying for State in his first varsity season, placing 17th with a time of 18:35. Only the top 15 runners qualify to move on to State. Logan Kennedy also finished the year strong in 29th place with a time of 19:07.

"I am encouraging Sam, Logan, and the rest of the team to practice in the off season to run at least 3 times a week or at least some form of intense exercise," Holbach said. "Sam, Logan, and I talked about how if they do not train in the off season, they are completely starting over next season and have that much more work to do. Especially for Sam though, because he saw how close he came to state, and that is something obtainable for him, so I think he is more driven to get there next year. It's not a 'crazy' idea anymore."

Holbach's encouragement goes beyond cross country and she recommended they participate in another sport to keep in shape if they are not already. While there were ups and downs in the season, she is proud of those who stuck it out and continued to improve until the very end.

"Having all five runners run their fastest times of the year was more than I could have hoped for," Holbach said. "That is not easy, but they all ran strong races. I have never seen each and every runner look as strong and confident as they passed me. Sam and Logan went out faster than I have ever seen and they were able to hold it the entire race. They finally learned to trust their bodies and overcome that mental hurdle and that makes me extremely excited for next season, because now they know they can do it, and they can start doing that earlier in the season."

The program could also be bolstered over the next season by an influx of strong runners coming up from junior high. Look to Snyder to chase a State berth in 2019 and his teammates right behind him.



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