The sky is the limit for boys cross country
Let’s face it, the Parkland boys cross country team is thrilled to have any kind of a 2020 season.
“As with everyone, COVID-19 has affected us,” said coach Stephen Ott. “At the end of the day though, it is up to us how we respond to the cards that were dealt.”
Those cards have required the Trojan coaching staff make training adjustments to keep their troops safe and at the same time, athletically ready to compete.
“Athletes need to wear their masks at all times, unless they are completing a workout,” Ott said. “They hand sanitize upon arrival and departure and maintain social distancing as much as possible throughout the practice.”
The boys are also subject to various other disease-mitigating tactics. The coaching staff is following Parkland’s return to play guidelines as approved by the school board.
But the bottom line is the Trojans will have an opportunity to start a season and hopefully complete it this fall. Overall, Parkland is young and inexperienced. While the lack of experience hurts, Ott said his youth is actually a good thing if it inspires at least one characteristic.
“I think their hunger will drive them to success,” he said. “Their goals are out there, now they just need to reach them.”
Seniors Ben Esquieres and Josh Beltrame have acquired the leadership honors for Parkland. Esquieres is a determined and wise runner who just missed qualifying for states last year. Esquieres was disappointed he came close but failed to make the state cut, but he’s not one who focuses on negativity.
“Some would get stuck on that, but he has used it as motivation,” said Ott.
Other top returners include senior Julian Reester, junior Avi Hochhauser and sophomores Brady Hoffman and Brian Warren. Top Trojan newcomers include sophomore Sam Tomko and freshman Paul Abelin.
“These boys, along with their teammates, have tons of potential,” said the coach. “Now is the time to prove that. The sky is the limit for them.”