By TJ Millman
Milford Cross Country has a long standing tradition of helping their athletes be the best that they can be. It has been a place for students to get in shape, push their bodies to the limits, and find the thrill of competition. Whether an athlete is running under 20 minutes, or under 30 minutes, they are successful as long as they are working as hard as they possible can.
That line of logic could be used as an excuse, but for Milford it is quite the opposite. Last year, Milford’s Girls Cross Country Team won the Henlopen Conference, and the Boys Team finished the season with a strong 6-6 record. For Milford, focusing on an athlete’s personal growth is not an excuse. It is an expectation.
“Our goal this season is for every athlete to maximize their talent by working hard in practice and on their own. The most exciting part of the season for me is always getting to watch the athletes become more fit, and run faster as they work through the season,” Milford Head Coach Robert Spath said.
Cross country is a unique sport, similar to track or swim, in that runners place in an individual position, but it is still a team sport. That being said, it is a natural occurrence for Milford to create the same team atmosphere that is present in other sports.
“Our athletes have a competitive nature. They compete against each other, they push each other, and through that they create a bond as teammates. All we ask of our athletes is that they show up to practices, work hard at practices, and trust in our process and do what the coaches ask of them,” Spath said.
Milford Girls Cross Country lost 4 seniors to graduation, including top runners Deja Rodriquez-Santiago and Rajene Bowe. One runner who looks to fill that void is senior Emily Holstein, who Coach Spath looks to as a leader for this year’s team.
“Emily Holstein is entering her fourth year as a Varsity runner, and she is the epitome of a student athlete. She is a high achiever and is very focused. She never complains and always leads by example,” Spath said.
Milford’s Boys Team looks to improve on last year’s 6-6 record, losing only two seniors and returning some of their top runners in Emmanuel Beaucejour, Shannon Wilt, and Ben Sobota. Beaucejour and Wilt finished 24th and 28th respectively at last year’s Henlopen Conference Meet. Wilt also showed great growth last season, starting his time in the 20’s and ending his season in the low 18’s.
Milford begins their season on Friday, September 8 at home against ECHS (Early College High School). The race is set to start at 4 PM at Milford Millponds Nature Preserve.
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