YOUTH IS THE FUTURE FOR LA SALETTE CROSS COUNTRY
While experience was the defining factor of this year's team, youth will prove to be the key to next year's success.
This year’s Cross Country team was full of senior talent. The Lions team that won their first meet, the North Vermillion Invitational, was made up entirely of members of the class of 2021. After future rugby captain Brendan Martonik withdrew from Cross Country competition, the team welcomed its first non-senior runner, junior Christopher Halligan. Halligan breached the varsity lineup for the next meet, hosted by Chrisman High School. That day three seniors, Henry Kracht (captain), James Peterson, and Dominic Dvorak swept the podium, finishing first, second, and third, respectively. This trio was made up of the Lions’ best runners, taking the top three places within the team for three of their four meets. Halligan finished fourth, however, Halligan’s time was only the fifth best among the Lions that day.
A first-year JV runner, sophomore George Mackin, finished with the fourth best time for the Lions that day.
Mackin still remembers that moment. “I crossed the finish line,” he recalls, “and [Coach] Lanthier said to me, ‘Welcome to the varsity.’” The newcomer ran in the final two meets of the Lions’ plandemic-shortened season as the only underclassman on the varsity team. In those races, Mackin and Halligan both placed above senior teammates.
Next year, the team hopes to benefit from the arrival of John Brauner, a rising freshman who as an eighth-grader led the La Salette eighth-grade team to the IESA Class 1A Sectional championship while securing the top time in the Section. His performance, along with that of his fellow newcomers to the Lions’ varsity squad, will be greatly needed by a team which will feature only two returning runners, Mackin and Halligan. These two runners have already proved their worth in the 2020 season— but they are still eager to improve in the upcoming year. “I’m glad that we start training for next season this year,” says Halligan, “because it means that we have that much more time to get better.”
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