Outstanding Kick-off for Girls Cross Country Team


Niharika Sapra, Staff Writer

This weekend marked a remarkable start of the season for the Warren Township High School Girls Cross Country team. Their dedication and hard work led to their success at the invitational on Saturday.

WTHS Cross Country has been hosting the Blue Devil Invite for over 30 years here at Warren Township High School. In 2017 it was named the “Bill Dawson Blue Devil Invite” after the current boys’ coach Bill Dawson, who has been coaching the team at Warren for more than 30 years.

Warren hosted over 1,300 runners during 6 races on race day. Preparing for the meet required a lot of behind the scenes work as the coaches had to get ready to host 42 teams. The WTHS Meet Director, Ms. Megan Burza, was instrumental in making sure that things went smoothly during competition day. While this meet has been carefully planned and successfully executed for many years, this year was a bit different. Due to flooding, the team had to relocate. The relocation procedure started on Sunday, and trying to find dry land around Lake County was not an easy quest. The coaches at Zion-Benton Township High School volunteered to help out and let Warren use their course. According to the Girls Head Coach Brett Heimstead, “This monumental task of organizing a course, race day management, team logistics and communication, along with many other aspects was daunting to say the least.” Fortunately, the diligent team of coaches, trainers, meet directors, and athletic directors were able to pull it off with great success. All 6 races went off without any issue and the team had a great day up in Zion.

The WTHS Girls Cross Country teams had a great day on the course. The Freshman/Sophomore team were the big winners on the day and took home 1st place with the Championship Trophy. They were led by Morgan Vawter, Mia Pasha, Brooke Sturt, Caralyn Whalen, and Maxine Elloian. The team as a whole was very impressive throughout the day. Varsity took 4th place overall and was only 1 point shy of earning 3rd. They were led by Taylor Latza in 10th and Raina Rice in 12th out of more than 150 runners. The JV team also received 4th place. The girls had a tough week of workouts. They completed phenomenally in their race on Tuesday and still came back and raced hard again on Saturday.

The team has been preparing for races since August, and this was their first big invitational of the year. The girls have been running tough workouts 2-3 times a week, along with Long Runs of up to 10 miles. The girls get done with their runs and go through core routines, team bonding activities, and have short group meetings to discuss things like nutrition, hydration, and improving fitness and performance. Emily Miller, a senior team captain, agrees that they’re “a team that is passionate about having the opportunity to run. This is evident not only in the big invites, but in everyday practices. [Their] team’s energy is filled with perseverance and contagious encouragement.” The coaches are proud of the girls’ fitness and commitment are getting ready for championship season in October.