Up for the Challenge
Roland Park moves up to the A Conference in Cross Country and looks to continue success
By: Louis Foudos
In a year of conference shifts, the Reds of Roland Park have taken the challenge of moving from the B conference to the A conference. It will certainly be a change, but the Reds are ready for new competition.
Head Coach Lisa Winebrenner is looking forward to this season. “With growth in both the strength and talent of our team in the last few years, we are looking forward to the move to the A division this season. There is a lot of excitement on the team as we embrace our new competitors, broaden our goals, and maintain a healthy, positive team environment.”
In 2016, Roland Park won the IAAM B conference cross country title by 28 points. Last season they won the B conference cross country title by 43 points. However, this year, the path to a title will not be as easy, but they have their top three runners from both of those championship years. Alyana Gibson, Elizabeth Currie, and Hannah Rhea understand the new level of competition, but they are prepared.
Alayna Gibson, the B conference individual winner in both 2016 and 2017, says, “Running in the A conference is a little intimidating, but it is a challenge our team is ready to take on.” Fellow junior Elizabeth Currie who was runner up the past two years adds, “I am excited to see how we do compared to larger teams, and also for us to prove that we belong in A conference. We are determined to do well.”
At last year’s championship meet, Roland Park would have finished fifth in the A conference. They are right in the mix to be competitive, and they have the experience as they have been one of the few B conference schools to race at large Invitationals including Seahawk, Spiked Shoe, and Gunpowder Falls. Coming into this year, senior Hannah Rhea says, “I personally feel slightly more prepared this year compared to years in the past because I pushed myself this summer to run more often and longer distances, and I believe each returning runner has been doing the same.”
Alayna Gibson really took it up a notch as she went to a distance running camp out in Colorado at altitude. Not every runner could do that, but most runners on the team upped their mileage this summer. While not everything has gone according to plan this summer, the Reds have bigger goals as a team to help push them this season. Elizabeth Currie notes, “Summer training was more frustrating for me in some ways because of some injuries that I was dealing with, but I definitely feel more prepared than last year because of goals I have set for myself and that we have set as a team.”
The Reds have begun their season campaign, racing at the Seahawk Invite at South River High School on September 1st finishing twentieth of twenty-six teams. This past weekend, they were tenth of twenty-seven teams at the Spiked Shoe Invite at Stevenson University. Roland Park opens up their IAAM conference schedule with a quad meet against NDP, McDonogh, and Spalding on September 25th.