Janesville Parker cross country runners aim for improvement
Both teams are lacking experience but not the effort needed to compete in the Big Eight, one of the top conferences in the state.
That makes staying healthy, improving times on a weekly basis and understanding the secrets to running at the varsity level paramount to the teams’ success.
The Parker girls must replace seven of their top 11 runners from a year ago.
Parker girls coach Joe LaChance, who along with boys coach Dan Bouska, is entering his 20th season, said his young team is working hard.
“We have to stay healthy, and it’s a little too early to know where we might end up, but the girls have shown some promise,” LaChance said. “If we keep improving, I’d like to think we could finish in the middle of the conference.”
Sophomores Jenna Cavey and Paiton Foster ran varsity last season, along with junior Miranda Slaback. Junior Emily Richardson also saw time on the varsity a year ago.
“We’re pretty young and are in what I would say is a rebuilding year,” LaChance said. “But I’m pleased with the way most of the girls came into the first day of practice ready to go. Hopefully, we can get a little bit better each day.”
The Parker boys are also young and will be counting on as many as seven freshmen at the varsity level. The Vikings were eighth in the Big Eight last season but made a nice showing by finishing fifth at the sectional meet.
Bouska said a solid summer workout program has put the Vikings ahead of where they were a year ago.
“Almost all of the our runners had a good summer preparing for the season,” Bouska said. “Mark Little, who volunteered his time, led a summer running club that I think is really going to pay off for us.
“Right now, we’re just looking to improve times on the returning runners and develop a promising freshman group.”
The three varsity letter winners are senior Alex Little, junior Dane Tyler and sophomore Kendall Apfel. Sophomore Danny Brose and Mitch Koller, along with freshman Keegan McCluskey, are also expected to run varsity when the team opens the season Thursday at the Oconomowoc Nature Hill Run.
SEPTEMBER: 1—At Oconomowoc Nature Hill Run, 4:15 p.m.; 8—At Big Eight Invitational (Yahara), 4 p.m.; 13—At Big Eight Grade Level Challenge (Warner Park), 4:30 p.m.; 24—Midwest Invitational (Blackhawk), 9 a.m.; 27—At Five-Team Challenge (Sheehan Park), 5 p.m.
OCTOBER: 1—At Stoughton Invitational, 9:30 a.m.; 8—At Sun Prairie Invitational, 9 a.m.; 15—At Big Eight Conference Meet (Yahara), 9 a.m.; 22—At WIAA Sectional Meet (Yahara), 8 a.m.