By TOBEY SCHMIDT
After a great season last year, Skagway’s cross-country team is determined to keep improving. The team started practices the first week of August and are now under new a new coach, Kenton Gilmartin.
“I’m looking to continue a great team here,” Gilmartin said. “We’ve lost a few seniors, but I have a lot of good potential here, a lot of good runners, so I’m looking to try to – at the very least – keep a status quo of a great team.”
Gilmartin attended school at Wheaton College and Bridgewater State University, both in Massachusetts. Gilmartin’s running background is primarily from high school, where he was All-League in both cross-country and track.
The team’s first meet will be on Aug. 26 in Juneau. Gilmartin said they’ll attend a meet every few weekends, but won’t be able to attend them all. Currently there are four boys and four girls attending practice, but Gilmartin expects that number to grow by a few for both the girls and boys team.
“My goal is basic improvement for every runner, whether they be the number one runner or the number five runner, it’s all about improvement,” Gilmartin said.
Skagway High School junior Madison Cox said she’d like focus on running faster, but is just happy to have a girls team.
“We barely had a team last year,” Cox said.
Danny Brady, junior, said he’d like to stay with the top Sitka runners, which would put him in at least the top five for regionals. Last year Brady and graduating seniors Ethan Goebel and Colton Belisle were the top runners on the boys team, which was the best in Southeast 1A-2A last season and qualified for State.
“My goal is to be almost as good as my brother by the time I’m a senior,” said freshman Gavin Goebel. “I just want to be almost half as good as him now.” The cross-country team is practicing five days a week for at least an hour, depending on the type of workout the coach has planned for that day.
“You can’t just let anyone slip through the cracks with a team of five to seven,” Gilmartin said. “Every runner will be giving you points every turn, so you can’t just work on specific runners, you have to work on everyone here.”
The coach said that if the team continues to show dedication and motivation, he thinks they will certainly have a winning season.
“Whether we can defend the title, that’s up to the guys and gals,” Gilmartin said.