Wisconsin Rapids (OnFocus) – The Assumption Royals Cross Country team headed into this year’s season with high hopes. The Royals took home first at sectionals and punched their ticket to berth to the state tournament, proving their hopes had merit.
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It has been a cross country season that almost never was, however.
“When the season started, all of our pre-scheduled meets started getting canceled. So we weren’t even sure if there would be a season. This was every demotivating,” said Assumption Head Coach Jim Dolan. “However, once we actually started competing, we starting winning meets. We won our first, our second meet, and then won our home meet against the two best teams from conference last year.”
Familiar foes for the Royals have been Auburndale and Marathon, each earning trips last season to state. This year, Assumption rose to the challenge, and Dolan explained the Royals were pumped to extract revenge this year.
“We’re in a really good conference. Auburndale and Marathon are great teams. Last year our goal was to make it to state, but those two teams beat us out at the sectional meet. We didn’t want that to happen again. The sub-sectional meet was probably more stressful than sectional as we had to square off with Auburndale and Marathon again. So winning that meet was a huge relief. Then winning the sectional meet was awesome,” Dolan explained.
The Royals had an incredible regular season, picking up wins in each of their meets. This team is on a roll, and winning has built the team’s confidence.
“I knew the team had the potential to be really good, but after that meet the team realized that they were really good. That’s when everyone’s focus increased and they wanted to win every meet. They did everything they could to stay health and keep training. Now here we are having won all nine of our meets and on our way our to the state meet to try to get one last win,” shared Dolan.
“What makes me really happy is seeing teammates doing everything they can to help the each other succeed so in turn the team succeeds.” – Wisconsin Rapids Assumption Cross Country Coach Jim Dolan
When the Royals take to the course Saturday at the Maple Grove Cross Country Course in West Salem, they’ll be ready after a grueling stretch run.
“We’ve had some really hard hilly meets in the last three weeks. So, this week my focus has been on keeping them fast with some speed work on flat ground, but also reducing volume so that their legs can recover,” Dolan explained.
The Royals truly are a team to be reckoned with, and it goes beyond their performance on the race course this year. Their unblemished record speaks for itself, but it’s another characteristic that makes them tough to beat.
“The team is so excited to go on to the State meet. What makes me really happy is seeing teammates doing everything they can to help the each other succeed so in turn the team succeeds.”
David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]
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