Crossing the Country One Race at a Time

Cross Country teams are on the Move


With the 2016 fall sports season in full swing at West Geauga High School, the runners of the boys and girls cross country teams are working hard to thrive during a challenging season. Veteran coaches, each of fifteen seasons, Mr. Mike Taurasi and Mr. John Boylan continue to whip their teams into shape.

Coach Boylan is the fearless leader of the boys team. The boys team consists of sixteen members, including senior captain Sam Faulk. “The races were not won, but the team was not lost,” Sam said when asked so far this season. As the season progresses, practices are more important than ever. A single practice could involve a 5-6 mile run or a variety of interval workouts. Although the team is considerably small in terms of experience, having only a mere 4 upperclassman versus 12 underclassmen, they are working tirelessly to improve their personal records (PR’s). One idea Coach Boylan is trying to instill into the team is the importance of training in the summer. The June, July and August months are a crucial part of conditioning for runners and could make or break the fall season. With this idea in mind and running shoes tied tight, the boys team continues to push on until the end of the season.

While the boys are pushing themselves to new running limits, the girls are also working restlessly to improve their season as well. Led by Coach Taurasi, the girls team is working toward the goal of becoming regional qualifiers. First year runner, sophomore Olivia Conley, was asked about her perspective of the season so far. She said “My team is great, our practices are great and the results are extraordinary.” Although the team is small, having only seven girls, they are mighty. Finishing 9th out of 20 teams at the Willoughby South invitational, the girls continue their trend of finishing about “middle of the pack” in a race with 15- 20 teams.

A practice includes a mile to a mile and one – half run to warm up, then a series of dynamic drills, a 5-7 mile run, or speed intervals. Due to the small size of the team, attendance is imperative amongst the girls to uphold all of the hard work they’ve been putting into their running.

Another major accomplishment for the team this season was a home dual meet versus the Beachwood Bison. In West Geauga’s history, there has not been a permanent, long standing course…until this season. Senior Deanna Swinerton, looking to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, constructed a course with the help and support of the team, administration, and community.  “A home course means easier access for parents and students, looking to attend races and support the runners. It also means a nice home field advantage,” said Coach Taurasi, referring to the meaning of having a home course. At the meet, the girls won first place with Swinerton placing first and Conley finishing second.

As the season pushes on, both teams continue to put in maximum effort to improve their PR’s and train as dedicated runners. Although Cross Country may seem like an individual sport, there is plenty of support coming from teammates and coaches. Without it, the laurels of the 2016 boys and girls cross country teams might not have been achieved.