Long-time coach Travis Pertner was asked to reflect on the 2017 season and also about the future of the program as a number of seniors are set to graduate.
Q: With the season finished, did you expect to come out .500? More? Less?
A: Yes, HC, ZE, and ZW were a huge challenge for us.
Q: How will losing five seniors to graduation affect next year’s team?
A: As far as the girls go, we have strong returners. And we have a couple of decent 8th grade girls on their way.
Q: Why was Autumn Hancock most improved, and how did her improvement help the team?
A: It was simply her buy-in to the training and team goals. She also plans on running at Davenport in track events 400 meters and up.
Q: Do you feel the team fell short of its goal this year?
A: I always feel this way because of the high standards I set for each and every team I coach. Twenty seconds faster by each runner at Regionals and we would have qualified for State. This advantage/disadvantage is achieved (or not) during the summer months.
Q: With not being in the classroom now, did Mr. Spotts presence alter the team’s performance?
A: I don’t know that it mattered, but it will in the future more and more.
Q: Any rising stars that could lead the team in the future?
A: We have a 7th grader, Trina Farris, who will be very good (near Erika) when she gets to high school. Of course, her continuing success will depend on her work-ethic.
Q: How did the seniors and higher classman lead and push the team?
A: Seniors were great leaders because of their “leadership by example.” They achieved the most overall miles throughout the whole season.
Senior runner Autumn Hancock, voted as the team’s most improved player, also reflected on her final season.
Q: How do you feel the season went altogether?
A: It went pretty well. I feel like as a team we could have been just a little more mentally tough, but everyone did a good job in being there for each other when it got tough.
Q: Was the season a disappointment finishing .500?
A: Not a total disappointment, but we were expecting a little bit more going into it, but everyone went out and competed.
Q: Being a senior, how did you lead the team?
A: I gave 110% every practice to set an example of how hard work should look for Hamilton athletics, specifically cross country and track. You have to do your best not only for yourself, but for your team. I encouraged when I could and helped my teammates stay mentally tough.
Q: What was your strategy running a race?
A: I had to hit a certain time for my first mile to make sure I was on pace, then after that I competed and tried to beat people. Just tried to go all-out for three miles.
Q: Does cross help you get ready for track?
A: It prepares me mentally and physically. It gives me a good base to go off of for sprinting, and it gives me an opportunity to do most any event that I have to do for the team. It gives me good endurance and makes me really look forward to track season.
Q: What was the vibe or the team spirit this year?
A: It was good, everyone encouraged each other and kept up a good spirit when it was hard.
Q: Do you see a successful future for the team?
A: If everyone can accept the fact that they will have to work hard and that it will hurt, then I do believe that they can be very good.