Urban’s cross-country teams grapple with grads leaving, set goals for season

Jacob Winick, Staff Writer

After losing over a third of its senior runners, this year’s cross-country team will be challenged with piecing together a roster fast enough to maintain Urban’s strong running tradition and to bring the Blues a banner.

The loss of talented veterans, including Alex Wu (’12), Emma McCune (’12), Whit Henderson (’12), Jordan Clark (’12) and Cole Williams in 2011, created a talent vacuum that begs to be filled. Boys co-captain John West focused on the benefits of a wave of new blood.

“It … allows the team to (recruit) new talent (rather) than relying on a handful of veteran upperclassmen,” said West. “(However), we’re back to being the long shots again. People don’t necessarily expect us to excel this season like we have the past couple of years, and I think our runners are going to have a lot of fun showing the other teams what Urban cross-country is made of,” he added.

Co-captain Walker Willett (’13) explained what is necessary for the boys to qualify for NCS after missing last year’s tournament.

“It is imperative that (the team) comes together to support each other,” said Willett.

The girls have a more positive future in view, looking to continue their three-year streak of qualifying for the NCS tournament. According to co-captain McCall Calhoun (’13), the key to repeating is “practicing and finding the drive to always improve.”

But Calhoun’s co-captain, Molly Carleton (’15), says that physical skills shouldn’t be the only emphasis.

“If the team is to accomplish their goals they will have to do more than just train,” she said. “(We) will have to rise to the challenge of coming from behind and cultivate a young roster that can rebuild a team spirit even stronger than before.”

The Bay Counties League-West tournament is scheduled for Nov. 2, with North Coast Section and California state championships following on Nov. 17 and Nov. 27, respectively.