As this summer approached August 15th, it was time for our Milford High School sports teams to hit the ground running. One particularly strong sport at Milford High School is the cross country team. In 2014, the cross country team experienced a coaching change and the team was made up of predominantly underclassmen runners. Even though the team had to adjust to a new coaching staff as well as having such a young team, these obstacles did not weigh them down. The team still managed to be one of the top contenders in the Henlopen Conference last season and has its eye on the prize this year, too. Now that summer training is over and the Bucs head into a new Fall season, there is a lot of anticipation for this year’s Milford runners.
One of the main changes for the Milford High School cross country team last year was a coaching staff change. Milford’s previous coach was Czar Bloom who left Milford High to teach at Poly Tech High School. When Bloom stepped down, Coach Robert “Bobby” Spath stepped up to lead the Buccaneers. After going through a transition year last year, Coach Spath’s focus for this year is, “In teaching efficient running form drill work and varied training styles in order to maximize the potential of each runner regardless of ability. My expectations are for each cross country team member to run the fastest times they have ever run, during this season. If team recognition follows, that will be the icing on the cake.”
Fortunately for the Bucs, Coach Spath is not new to running. He has experience running in Iron Man Triathlons and has participated multiple times in the Boston Marathon. Coach Spath is also not new to coaching. He is a two sport coach, coaching cross country and basketball. Last year he led the Milford Basketball Men’s Varsity team to their first Southern Conference Championship in twenty-three years.
As preseason is progressing, Coach Spath has his eye on two runners, who he believes will step up to the line and lead the team. On the girls’ side, Coach Spath is looking to Summer Athurs, a one year veteran to running cross country, to step up and lead the Lady Bucs. Summer says now that she has some experience, “I find a lot more joy in running. Running is like free therapy and after I finish running, I feel amazing.” This runner also has long-term goals for herself. “I want to go to the University of Delaware and further my education and be active along the way.” Summer also stated that she wants to thank her father for motivating her this summer and because of him she is more prepared for this season. Summer’s fastest 5K race is a 25:32 and she is using that time as her motivator to get faster and help the team this coming season.
On the boys’ side, sophomore William Appolon has high hopes for this season. “I foresee many positive things for this season. I want to finish in the top five this season and lead my team to be a high conference contender.” William likes running because, “It just makes me feel good afterwards.” William also aspires to one day run in college. This young runner has one year of running experience and is looking forward to some major improvements this season from last year. “This summer I have been putting in a lot of long mile runs. My fastest 5K time is 18:06 and I am shooting to run in the sixteens this season.”
There will be a total of two races at Milford’s home course this year, which is Milford Mill Ponds. The dates for the races are September 23 and October 21. There are 18 days of training left until Milford’s first race, against schools from all over the state, at the annual Lake Forest Invite at Killens Pond State Park.