KINGSTON — Twenty-one Kingston High School cross country runners finished practice partaking in a wide array of stretching exercises at the conclusion of a 90-minute workout session where each individual ran five miles. It may only be the second week of practice, but KHS cross country head coach Roger Coffman already has both the boys and girls squads in midseason form.
“My goal is for every athlete on the team to become better conditioned and become a better runner. I want to see them improve on their individual performances throughout the season,” Coffman said. “Running is something they can do for the rest of their lives.”
He said technique has been the focus during early season practice sessions.
“Technique is the most important aspect of running,” he said. “If a runner doesn’t have proper technique, it can have a negative impact on the body. We have been working on a lot of form running specific exercises that gets them thinking about where their arms and legs need to be.”
The team even got an opportunity to run in the wilderness in the past week.
“They have been running on the trails quite a bit and have been doing some work running on hills, too,” Coffman said. “The hard work is going to payoff.”
Coffman is happy the season is finally underway.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I am excited and they’re doing a great job at practice.”
On the girls side, he said sophomore Ruby Roberts is the most experienced runner on the roster. Roberts took 13th place individually in the 4A state tournament as a ninth grader in 2006.
“Ruby is a fantastic leader and is very positive individual,” he said.
Roberts said Buccaneers runners are already off to a good start.
“It’s really neat being part of a brand new team,” she said. “We all work hard and are bonding together.”
Roberts hopes she can make it back to state again this season. “I want to get a better time at the state. I don’t really care about where I place but I want to improve,” she said. “I am going to do the best I can.”
Senior boys runner Frank Murdock is competing in cross country for the first time this fall. Murdock recently moved to the area from Colorado.
“I am excited about being part of a new school,” he said. “We have a chance to set the tone for the future at KHS.”
Murdock said he’s participating in cross country in preparation for his favorite sport.
“I am trying to get ready for wrestling season,” he said. “The conditioning I am getting right now has been terrific. It’s been what I expected.”
Freshman Zane Ravenholt said practice sessions have proved to be strenuous thus far.
“We have ran at least five miles everyday,” he said. “We have ran a ton of hills and done a lot of different kinds of exercises.”
Fellow freshman Nick Schippers said the intensity of workouts took him by surprise.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and we have some great athletes who have turned out for the team.”
Junior Gustavo Guimaraes who’s an exchange student from Brazil, said he’s impressed with the caliber of athletes competing at KHS.
“I think the runners are better here than they were in Brazil,” he said.
Guimaraes said he took two weeks off from running before showing up to the Buccaneers first practice of the season last week.
“I am a little out of shape right now but I am getting used to it,” he said.