Fairfield cross-country prepares for upcoming year
Waterworks Park contains everything a runner would ever need.
The air feels even fresher with the breeze coming off the water, and the unseasonable cool morning is made even better by the shaded running trails. These are not truly the dog days of summer, and Fairfield’s cross-country team has taken advantage of every second of this year’s dip in heat.
“It was tough last year in terms of temperature,” Fairfield coach Jerrod Belzer said. “We’re at that stage right now where we’re trying to build a good base with our conditioning, and it’s been great to go out and be able to go a lot harder than we can normally go this time of year.”
The cross-country program saw 60 participants for grades 5-12 at camp last week. There are approximately 40 kids in grades 9-12 that have the opportunity to run JV and varsity this season. Belzer has been pleased with his team’s effort.
“Practice went really well this week,” Belzer said. “We have strong numbers that are a lot higher than we’ve had.
Both the girls and the boys will have relatively youthful squads this season. There are only four seniors total in the program, and only one on the boys’ side. Sophomore Elijah Parr will likely have a leadership role on the boys’ team because of his experience level.
“As for the guys in particular, we’ve got a lot of youth and a lot of new talent,” Belzer said. “Getting them to come together has started out well.”
More often not than not, the incoming freshman have experience running at the junior high levels. A few of the 11 total freshmen out for cross-country will crack the starting lineups by the time the first meet arrives.
The weather has helped, but Belzer grins when he says he’s sure it has helped the competition as well.
“It has been beneficial to us, but it has probably been that way for everyone else in the state too,” Belzer said. “But it does help the kids adjust to conditioning at the beginning of the year.”
Fairfield’s first meet will be Aug. 25 at the Pine Knolls Country Club in Knoxville. Dallas Center-Grimes will be among the teams competing.