Cross country runs away with NCL honors  

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Cross country runs away with NCL honors  

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CHARDON, OH–  Senior Kyle Stober (16:40) led the pack for the boys cross country team this Saturday, turning in a second place finish en route to a team NCL title. Six of eight boys varsity runners finished within the top 20, with junior Dom Brink (17:24) finishing 9th, senior Michael Jorgenson finishing 12th and runners Bailey Klein (18:00) and Nick Wong (18:01) finishing 15th and 16th, respectively.

“We have a great squad this year and we were able to get the NCL win, with big thanks to Nick Wong who really stepped up this year,” Klein said. “Our two freshman prodigies Sawyer Huckabee and Steve Reiter played crucial roles in pushing us towards victory on Saturday too.”

The girls team also found success at the meet, finishing second in the NCL with four of eight varsity runners in the top 20. Senior Bridget Hahn (20:15) led the team, finishing fourth in a field of almost 50. Junior Hannah Schill (20:40) followed with a strong seventh place finish. Senior Samantha Hier and junior Annabelle Brink (21:31) rounded out the top 20, finishing stride for stride while securing 15th and 16th place.

Runners had to fight every step of the way in a race that featured freezing rain and swamp-like course conditions. Several runners, easily spotted by their mud covered uniforms, fell victim to a particularly slick downhill section of the race.

“It was the muddiest meet I’ve ever ran,” senior Bridget Hahn said when asked about the course.

“Every step you took forward it felt like you took a half a step backwards into quicksand,” runner Sam Hier added. “It felt like I was watching a movie…watching everyone slide down the big muddy downhill.”

For those who have been following Hoban’s season, these NCL honors come as no surprise. From the onset of their season, seniors Kyle Stober, Joe “Bailey” Klein and Michael Jorgenson, junior Dom Brink and sophomore Nick Wong set a high bar for the boys team, pushing each other through grueling workouts and equally grueling wing nights.

On the girls team, seniors Bridget Hahn and Samantha Hier served a similar role, and worked hard to strike the right balance between intense focus and a fun team atmosphere.

“I felt like everyone was looking up to us for what to do next next,” Hier said. “But that’s the good part of being a senior leader, you can change anything you want.”

Their efforts positively impacted a new class of freshman, and allowed up and coming runners to have strong role models.

“(Bridget and Sam) always come ready to work, and work hard,” junior Hannah Schill said. “They like to have fun, but they also keep us from doing stupid stuff.”

The arrival of several new students helped to bolster an already strong varsity roster. Freshman runners Sawyer Huckabee and Steve Reiter made the boys varsity roster as freshman, contributing to several key wins throughout the year and ensuring a strong future for the growing program.

“I’m super proud of how far we have come since freshman year when I came out for the first time,” senior Joe Klein said. “There was maybe 20 guys and less than 10 girls, now there’s over 30 on each team.”

The girls team also enjoyed the arrival of several new runners, with juniors Janay Bass and Hannah Schill hoping to contribute to a strong postseason run.

“We have had a really strong season, with great new runners on both teams. Most notably Hannah and Janay on the girls side,” senior Bridget Hahn said.  “It has been a fun senior year and I’m looking forward to postseason!”

The Knights are back in action at the District meet this Saturday, running at Glenoak High School. They hope to continue their season long success on the way to a State appearance.