In the 2014 season, Westminster boys cross country came up short in the state meet placing third. Although for many of the teams in the state third place would be a tremendous result, the boys cross country team eyes a state championship every year. At Westminster, boys cross country is one of the most successful sports. The boys team has won 25 state championships, which is the fourth most of any sport at Westminster. With the motto of the 2015 season being “victory”, the athletes and the coaches are working hard to achieve the ultimate victory, which is winning the state title.
The 2015 boys cross country team started the season strong at the “Kosh Classic” coming in first place above nine other schools. They also came in first place in the two dual meets that they have participated in, the first being against Riverwood and the other being against Creekview and Decatur. In their most recent meet at Carrollton in the A-AA-AAA Championship they achieved first place once again beating 11 other schools. The team has been dominant this year and they have increasing momentum going into every next one of their meets.
A large reason of the team’s success is because of head coach Joe Tribble, who pushes the team mentally and physically on the trails.
“He is out there running with us and he really does not have to be, when we perform poorly he gets mad and tells us how we can do better,” said senior captain Clare Draper.
Tribble is known amongst Westminster and the running circle as one of the toughest and most disciplined cross country coaches.
“Coach Tribble is a tough guy,” said sophomore runner Bryan Weselman. “You have to get to know him to know what he’s asking for, but I think he’s a very good coach. He trains us to win, and he knows how runners work.”
Another large factor of the team’s success this season is their effort to attend summer practices, which are held before the season begins.
“I think our guys put in a big effort with summer training–more than they did prior to the 2014 season,” said former runner Ricky Dimon, who helps Tribble as an assistant coach. “The captains did a good job of organizing those summer workouts and getting the team ready. The kids are driven to succeed in both the classroom and on the playing field.”
For the boys cross country team, there is an expectation of winning when many former teams have won state championships for consecutive seasons.
“We do not have any specific goals other than winning the state championship, we just want to put ourselves in position to improve on a daily basis and peak when it matters most,” said Dimon.
One of the ways in which the team retains its discipline is through captains, who encourage and support their teammates. At the end of every year, the team votes on which upperclassmen they think would be the best captains for the following year.
“Being a captain on the Westminster Boys Cross Country team is very important to me,” said Billy McGahan, a senior captain. “It is an honor and a privilege to be a captain of a team with a much storied program.”
He also sees summer workouts of the foundation of their success. Even with the strong start, McGahan does not think the team is at their maximum potential.
“We still have work to do and we need to improve to get where we need to be by the end of the season,” said McGahan.
Although it is easy for people to think that all of the success or failure comes directly from the race, it is preparation and hard work that comes with achieving “victory”.
“The team achieves victory through hard work and focus during practice, as well as focusing on the little things that help us stay healthy and improve like sleep, stretching, hydration, and icing,” said McGahan.
Moreover, the team sets goals for itself as a team and individually over the course of the season.
“My personal goal is to help lead the team to a state championship, not get injured for the rest of the season, run under 17:30 at Wendy’s invitational and in the Region meet,” said McGahan, “and run in State if possible, and of course the team goal is always to win the state championship.”
Coming into the state meet, the team is entering its toughest training phase of the season so that they will be prepared to run well at the meet.
“Everyday we are practicing and trying to get each other better all leading up to September seventh, we want our top three runners to be very close to each other with strong times and have groups of three and four behind, also with very strong times,” said senior captain Clare Draper.
But beyond training, the team also takes time to relax and bond as a team.
“Before major meets and invitational and are on Friday nights, we have spaghetti suppers,” said Weselman, “which are really fun because the team goes to someone’s house and eat spaghetti and lots of dessert, which is nutritious for races.”
A key positive for the team’s season this year and the future is freshman Will Wallace, who placed fourth overall at the Kosh Classic and has been consistently placing top four amongst Westminster runners in races.
“I thought that I was going to do as well am this season but I did not think that it would come in this way, especially so early in the season” said Wallace.
At Carrollton Invitational, Wallace placed seventh in a field of around 100 runners. The teams also earned their fourth win edging out the team in second by almost 30 points.
“We actually did not run very well, at all, but we were still able to get the win at the end of the day,” said Wallace. “My only goal for this year is to win state, and I think that is the same for everyone.”