The Prescott boys and girls cross country team has had runners regularly either win or finish in the top 10 of cross country events during the 2021 season and head coach Matt Sachs says that the …
The Prescott boys and girls cross country team has had runners regularly either win or finish in the top 10 of cross country events during the 2021 season and head coach Matt Sachs says that the “sky is the limit” for the team as the regular season wraps up in the coming weeks.
Through the first several meets of the year, Prescott’s cross country team was performing well in meets but was also suffering minor injuries along the way that have slowly impacted the team. Now, in the closing weeks of the season, coach Sachs says getting his roster back to full health is the most important thing to do before the playoffs begin.
“Honestly, health is the bottom line right now,” Sachs said. “We need everybody healthy before that conference meet and ultimately, that sectional meet, which is the big one of the year.”
With a fully healthy team, Sachs believes this team can make a serious push in the postseason. Part of the reason for that belief is having strong runners finish consistently well in every meet. For the boys, that’s junior Tyler Loucks. Coach Sachs spoke about what makes Tyler a great runner and competitor.
“Tyler is an incredible runner,” Sachs said. “He has the work ethic in and out of season that coaches look for. He just really loves to run. Competition-wise, he’s finished top 10 at almost every meet and he just runs hard. He knows what he needs to do.”
The character of the team is also demonstrated by Loucks, according to Sachs. He said that Loucks is a team player and shows it at every meet that Prescott attends.
“One thing about him too is that once his race is over, he goes back and greets his team at the line and congratulates them and his competition,” Sachs said. “He’s just a great kid.”
As for the girls, one of the key runners on the team is Ella Johnson, who finished in 13th place as an individual at the most recent cross country meet, the New Richmond Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 2. Her 13th place finish as an individual was the best finish for a female Prescott runner at the meet. Coach Sachs spoke about Johnson’s ability.
“She’s an amazing runner too,” Sachs said. “She has been involved with track in the past and I don’t think she was super pumped about the idea of long-distance at first, but she has been killing it. She works so hard in practice and just trusts the process. She’s quietly extremely competitive and wants to do well. We are so happy and excited about her running so well from an individual and team standpoint.”
At the aforementioned New Richmond Invitational, the Prescott boys finished in sixth place as a team out of 13 total teams at the meet. Loucks finished in third place at the event. The next Prescott runner to finish was Ryan Zerneke who finished in 15th place. The Cardinals’ sixthplace finish was something that Sachs was happy with because the New Richmond Invitational had some larger schools that Prescott is used to seeing.
According to Sachs, all 36 of the Prescott runners ran a personal record on Saturday, and 31 of them were all-time bests.
“I’m happy with those results,” Sachs said. “We ran against some larger schools than we normally see, and our individual times were awesome. We believe that if we’re able to keep that momentum going through Amery and into conference and sectionals, we can be right where we want to be.”
On the girls’ side of the meet, the leading finisher for the Cardinals was the aforementioned Johnson. The second-best Prescott runner was Amanda Auleciems who finished in 49th place. As a team, the Prescott girls finished in 10th place of the 14 teams at the event. Coach Sachs spoke about the girls’ performance in New Richmond.
“I was happy with the results,” Sachs said. “Place-wise it’s not a top-two finish, but all those girls ran personal records that day, so as coaches we really can’t ask for anything more than that. They ran as hard as they could, and I think they ran great. Unfortunately, those other teams ran better, and it didn’t equate to a high finish.”
While more Prescott runners recover from minor injuries and the team begins to return to full health, Sachs believes the results will continue to get better. Creating a positive team atmosphere has been something that he has focused on this season and he is continuing to do just weeks before the postseason begins.
“In terms of the postseason, we’re just trying to keep the family close,” Sachs said. “We have done some fun things at practice like ‘capture the football’ and ‘minute to win it’ games. We have a tight group as it is but feel that community is a big part of making a deep run at this thing. It’s all about finding that nice mix of workouts that are tough but not too straining on the body.”
The next meet on the schedule for the Prescott Cardinals is the Cross Country Varsity Invitational at the Amery High School on Thursday, Oct. 7. That meet is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.