6 teams: 133 boys and 91 girls in total, all strained to be the first ten across the finish line and earn the conference champion title at last Thursday’s meet in Battle Creek Regional Park.  The Varsity and JV teams joined together, putting their best spiked foot forward on the muddy course. Their efforts paid off; PA boys took fourth overall and the lady lions brought home the conference title.

The girls pose for a picture with their award declaring them conference champions. (PAW photo courtesy of Amy Honecker)

The secret to Providence’s success was the many dedicated racers cutting down their times.  Maddy Kelly ‘20, Emma Kelly ‘22, Emma Grace Hendrickson ‘20 each finished in the top 10, with Maddy Kelly taking first place overall in a time of 19: 57 for the 5k. Performances like this have earned the girls the “All Conference” title that can be seen on their letter jacket. In addition, Liz Burns ‘24 and Jack McElroy ‘22 received “all conference honorable mention”.

Not only did many PA runners place well, they also got PR’s, or personal records in this meet. Rachel Fogle, the cross country coach, reports that Emma Kelly ‘22, Grant Heim ‘24, Max Koeppel ‘24, Tomas Palomarez ‘24, and Jayden Merseau ‘24 are just a few of the team members that earned PR’s. Emma Kelly boasted a personal best of 20:32, Heim completed the course in 19:28, Koeppel in 19:48, Palomarez finished with a 19:50 clocking, and Mersereau in just over 20 minutes, finishing in 20:07.

Maddy Kelly ’20 heads strong from the finish, taking first in the Cross Country Conference meet last Thursday.

But this type of success doesn’t come easily; it requires months of effort.  Unlike most sports which start meeting a few weeks before school starts, the cross country team’s captains’ practices began in mid-July and practice six days a week including Saturdays. “On average, we run around four miles a practice,” Alex Rynders ‘22  attests.

The months of running wasn’t the only challenge they faced.  The cross country team also braved abysmal weather conditions. With the sky spitting rain and the sun sinking below the horizon, the conditions on the course were less than ideal. Aly Marshall ‘23 recalls, “The course was wet and muddy and slightly raining during all races”. 

Nevertheless, the Lions Cross Country team bounded over these obstacles to rise above the other teams. With this meet behind them and many more races in the future, the Lions Cross Country team looks forward to facing more challenges and striving to become champions.