Going from seven to 37 participants in just three years is something the Woodward-Granger cross country team has every right to be proud of. Now well into the season, head coach Dave Smeltzer says he hopes to get several runners to the state meet this year.


“We’ve got four new seniors that jumped on the team (this year) that have never ran cross country every before and some of them have been placing pretty high (at meets),” Smeltzer said. “We have room to grow.”


Regardless of their experience level, Coach Smeltzer expects every senior on the team to be good role models.


“One of our senior girls kind of took the whole team under her wing this year,” said Smeltzer. “She’s only been running for two years, but she got third at our last meet.”


With several younger runners making up the team as well, Smeltzer also emphasizes the aspect of mental toughness. For inexperienced and experienced runners, running long distances can sometimes be a challenge, but Smeltzer says he tries to work on the importance of a good mindset.


“Mental toughness is one of the hardest things, as a coach, to teach,” Smeltzer said. “It takes a lot of guts to run cross country. It’s an individual sport.”


Also serving as the head wrestling coach for the Hawks, Smeltzer implements different strategies in getting that attitude instilled in his athletes because of the huge difference between the two activities.


“There’s no one out there on the course running with you (the athletes),” said Smeltzer. “So we try to get them to stay positive because they are going to get tired, they’re going to hurt, they’re going to have cramps, so we’ve gotta get that mental toughness instilled in them.”


Schedule:


Away - 08/30/2018 - Madrid


Away - 09/10/2018 - Ballard


Away - 09/13/2018 - Panorama


Away - 09/17/2018 - ADM, Adel


Away - 09/20/2018 - Roland-Story


Away - 09/25/2018 - Waukee


Away - 10/01/2018 - Nodaway Valley


Away - 10/11/2018 - Panorama