Tuesday night was filled with much excitement as the Avonworth Cross Country team ran their last home race of the season, beating out both opposing teams. The team’s annual senior recognition took place after the race, followed by celebration with team members’ friends and family.
The team competed against Avella and Washington in their last non-section race of the 2016 season. Varsity runners who typically line up first at the start line stepped aside as seniors running their last race at their home course of Ohio Township Park took their place for one last chance to improve their times. The sky was overcast and temperature was cool, a climate that many avid runners constantly wish for. The race evidently went well, as both the boys and girls team claimed two victories apiece.
The race was mildly complicated by excavation and construction within the trails of OT Park, which left part of the cross country course considerably misshapen. Many runners were curious as to why the construction company hadn’t waited until the completion of the last home race to begin work. As a result, caution tape was put up to redirect runners on detour trails of the same length so that the race could go on. Coach Jason Smith addressed beforehand that whoever won the race “would be setting a new course record,” as parts of the old course on which records were previously set were now reduced to rubble.
After the completion of the boys and girls races, friends and family of Avonworth runners gathered under the pavilion as coach Smith addressed each of this year’s thirteen seniors. Smith and his assistant coach, Sherah Rothman, then handed out decorated mugs containing candy to each senior as Smith said a few words about each runner and their time on the team.
Runners and guests alike were then dismissed to help themselves to food supplied by runners’ families. “[The team] ran their final race really well ,” Rothman said after the event. “It was so exciting for me to sit down and look at all of the results and new times.” While the regular season is over for the team, they continue on to the Freedom Invitational next Wednesday and then on to prove their worth at the WPIAL championships on October 27th.