Runners say cross country revival may be on horizon at LHS
It's been 15 years since one of Errol Logue's cross country teams has competed for a state trophy.
After the long wait, Logue - in his 37th year coaching at Lansing High - senses that his boys squad is on the verge of a breakthrough. That excitement gives him plenty of reason to look forward to year No. 38.
"We had our good teams in the late '80s, and we came back in '90 and had a good bunch that finished fifth in the state," Logue said. "Since 1990, we haven't had anything team-wise."
During the last 15 years, students have had more activities to choose from, whether it be football, soccer, band or other extracurricular activities. That has led to a decrease in the number of runners at LHS. Fewer numbers have made it tougher for the program to rebuild.
"I need a freshman bunch that will stay out and work hard," Logue said. "That's what's important here. They've got to stick together. The idea is to keep them together."
Logue said he hoped this year's crop of young runners would stick around. The Lansing boys didn't show much punch this season, but they displayed plenty of potential. The goal during the next year will be to turn that potential into production.
Lansing's top five runners this fall were freshmen and sophomores. By season's end, sophomore Griffin Davis notched a personal best time of 18:44 and placed sixth at the Kaw Valley League meet. Freshman Matt McCurry was 23rd at the same meet in 19:39. Sophomore Jim Mayes was 27th in 19:50. Not far behind were freshmen Wes Appleget and Trenton Dorf. Two other freshmen - A.J. Glowacki and Michael Hornick - also could show a lot of improvement.
"We're very young, but we're going to be a pretty good team," Mayes said. "Matt has gotten better times than Griffin and I did last year, so he's going to definitely be a good runner. And Wes and Trenton medaled in all of the JV meets."
The top five runners' best times this year ranged from 18:44 to 20:42. The times might not seem particularly impressive, but Logue is quick to remind you that they're all just 14 or 15 years old.
"That bunch in the late '80s started out like this," he said. "They were freshmen that nobody thought would be very good. I had a couple of great runners, and the rest of them were just average runners, but every year they got a little better and they got a little closer."
That's all Logue is looking for in this bunch: steady progress. Davis - the runner who Logue says "may postpone my retirement" - already has emerged as the group's likely star, but McCurry and Mayes have proven to be a solid supporting cast. Appleget and Dorf are right on their heels.
What Logue hopes is that this group of guys will stick together, train hard in the offseason and return next year with high expectations. That's exactly what they plan to do.
"A few of these guys, if they keep it up, if they run in the summer and do all of the workouts like we did last season, we could have a really good team," Davis said.
McCurry said that's exactly what he's hoping for. He said he sees the big picture of what the group is capable of if everyone puts in the work to get better.
"I think we'll be really good once we get older and get used to running more," McCurry said. "When they're seniors and we're juniors, we'll have a really good team."
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