Cross Country Dogs to State


Sofie Myers, Co-Editor

The Bulldogs end their season with a ticket to the State Meet!

The Poland Seminary High School Cross Country Team has had an incredible 2019 season! First, they hosted their first home meet in over 25 years. Throughout the season, the runners have been working hard towards their personal goals and becoming a closer knit team.

The cross country dogs have had many successes this year and are proud to be on their way to the State Meet, on Saturday, November 2. The runners have really been preparing for a state qualification, and they couldn’t be happier.

Cross Country Coach, Coach Kim Grisdale says that this is the first time in a very long time that both the boys and the girls teams have made it to state within the same season. 

“It was really really neat to have both teams to go; it’s the first time in school history, and it’s just such a special group, so to have them both get to end their season at state is really neat,” said Grisdale. 

Since the home meet in September, the team has been utilizing their course really well. And, being NE8, North East Eight, champions shows how far they’ve come.  

“We knew that our course, both racing there and practicing there, really prepared us better for those challenges at the end of the season, so we went in to the North East Eight meet knowing that we could possibly win on both the boys side and the girls side, and we did end up doing that in a really convincing fashion,” said Coach Grisdale.

The cross country coaches all agree that the seniors shine through as the leading members of the team and have been role models for the underclassmen. Although there’s still the state meet left, Coach Grisdale feels that this was a really good group of seniors to have leading the pack this season. 

“It’s always sad to see the seniors go. I think in a case like this year, you feel good seeing them go, in the sense that they’ve really accomplished a lot. They’ve really left a legacy, snd every year leaves a legacy, but this senior class, it’s the first time in history to have two district titles and both won the league together. It’s really been even more than a typical class, I think as far as what they left behind,” said Coach Grisdale. 

As far as seniors go, the five seniors who are still racing could not be more excited to have qualified to state. They all have team goals and individual goals and hopes for how the state meet will go for them.

Senior, Jet Bailey states his goals, “We’re looking for top 8. I personally think we can be somewhere in that top 5, and that’s definitely the goal; we got to give it our all, and it’s me, Geno, and Dante’s final meet, so we got to go out with a good showing.”

The senior cross country boys all agree that this is the most important meet, and they have to finish it off on a good note. 

Geno Gallo, senior, has very ambitious team goals, as his hopes for the Bulldogs include: placing top 5 in the state and individually placing in the top 20 runners. 

The cross country seniors not only have goals for the team, but they have personal running goals for themselves as well. 

Dante Parente says that for state, his goal is to: “Pretty much do what I always do: run as fast as I can, and do it with purpose and just treat it like a normal race.” 

The senior girls are also looking forward to state, as Sydney Norris sets her goals for state to meet her personal record, and run in the 21:00’s again.

Gianna Stanich is feeling confident going into the state meet and hopes to place on the podium and get a personal record. 

There’s no doubt that the Cross Country runners are going to have a blast at state and will definitely accomplish their goals. 

Although, for these senior bulldogs, this isn’t just state; it’s their last high school cross country meet. The seniors reflect upon their time on the team and how it has impacted their lives. 

Jet Bailey, Geno Gallo, and Dante Parente all agree that running on this team has been one of their favorite things, and all share a sense of brotherhood within the team. 

Gallo says that he’s going to miss the team bonding and that there’s not many other opportunities to get close like cross country, even in college.  

Bailey elaborates and states that “it’s just the family and the memories, like I could be coming to practice everyday, and just having a great time with you guys, even on runs, going through pain together, and that brotherhood that’s forming, it’s all gonna be gone.” 

“Just the fact that I’m out there running with my friends. For normal base runs, and other times I’d be running with my top friends, pretty much my best friends, and just having a fun time laughing,” said Parente.

The girls share the same sense of nostalgia as they progress through their final year in high school. 

Sydney Norris and Gianna Stanich agree that what they’re going to miss most about high school cross country is the people, just bonding with their teammates, and getting closer to all of the girls. 

The girls have had a really great season this year, as Sydney Norris said, “ It went pretty good; I definitely think it was a lot more fun than last year!”

Stanich feels the same way after she ended her regular season with a state qualification along with the team. 

“It didn’t start out the way I wanted really, but it’s getting better now that we made it to state as a team, and that’s going to be cool.”

Gianna Stanich also plans on running in college, which she is very excited. The rest of the seniors are unsure of whether or not running in college is for them, but they all enjoy running and  plan to keep up with as a recreational activity or for a club.

The seniors this year received a ton of support from their coaches and reciprocate the appreciation that their coaches feel for them. 

“Really all throughout high school, the coaches have done an exceptional job, this year especially. Coach Ciarniello coming in and implementing a new training plan has been really helpful to all of us, and Coach Harrell also has done a really good job of encouraging the team and really acting as the moral support behind the whole process,”  said Geno Gallo. 

Sydney Norris added, “They’re just always there for you, always supporting you, always helping you get better.” 

The class of 2020 Cross Country Bulldogs have definitely made their mark on the team and left a really strong legacy for the years to come.  

The Dogs leave for their state meet on Friday, November 1, so wish them good luck! 

The seniors leave for their final meet with one mutual message to the school: “DOGS TO STATE!!!”