Pace-setting seniors

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Journal Photo
Landen Hall, left, and Abby Wavra, right, are the Devils Lake cross country team's lone seniors on the roster. The coaching staff credits them for their leadership and hard work.

By Harry Lipsiea

Journal Sports

Looking at the Devils Lake cross country roster, there are a lot of new faces on the squad this year.

“A majority of our runners are either seventh-and-eigth graders or athletes in the sport for the first time,” Devils Lake cross country coach Curt Kukert told the Journal.

Luckily for the Firebirds, a pair of senior captains have provided leadership to the young team in 2014. Abby Wavra and Landen Hall are the squad’s lone seniors on the roster.

There is a responsibility that comes with that, the seniors noted. Both athletes try to lead by example during each practice and meet.

“As a senior, you definitely want to push yourself to encourage younger runners to push themselves,” Wavra commented.

Hall added, “I think you try a lot harder when you realize that there are teammates looking to you for leadership.”

Wavra joined the team in seventh grade, because she had several friends who participated in the sport. Hall became a member of the squad as a sophomore and has been running ever since, he stated.

Both agreed, “It’s a great way to stay in shape.”

In addition to the focus and determination it takes to be good runners, the seniors have also brought enthusiasm to the table for the Firebirds. Their efforts have helped mold the team, Kukert stated.

“Abby and Landen are both so positive,” he commented. “We want to be competitive and take it serously, but it’s so important to have fun. Our seniors have showed the younger runners that this is an enjoyable sport.”

The Firebirds are currently close to hitting the home stretch of their schedule. On Saturday, the team competes at the EDC Regional meet before running at state Oct. 25.

Throughout the season, Devils Lake has finished in the top five in a majority of the meets they competed in. It’s been a positive campaign and the squad is looking to close the season with their best effort.

“It’s been going very well,” Hall pointed out. “Our team has improved a lot, especially our younger athletes.”

Wavra concurred, pointing out that, “The additional numbers have really helped out. We have had a good season, now we are hoping to have good performances at regionals and state.”

Individually, Wavra and Hall are looking to break personal records with their times in their final two events of their high school cross country careers.

“I am looking to get my personal best time,” Hall said. “But most of all just have fun.”

Wavra added, “It’s going to be very important to run relaxed and just enjoy it.”

The seniors are very positive and enthusiastic when they talk about the sport of cross country, suggesting that anyone interested should give it a try.

“It’s something everyone can do. Most of all, it really is an enjoyable time,” Wavra said.

Firebird coach Justin Bear credits the athletes for playing a positive role in encouraging others to participate in cross country.

“Our seniors are both terrific advocates of cross country,” he stated.

The coaching staff points out that the pair of runners have been tremendously successful captains for the team this season. Wavra and Hall are positive role models for the younger runners.

They have done a good job of showing the ropes to new runners and have helped the young team learn important lessons, Kukert stated.

“Going into the season, we had 30 newbies,” he said. “Now because of te leadership of Abby and Landen, we have 30 experienced runners.”