Boys' and girls' Wilbur Cross first-year cross country head coach Travis Gale said he wants to build a running program at the school. With the Governors' season starting on Tuesday, he said he thinks he is on the right track.
"We always meet before and after school, we work in the weight room together, we're pretty much together all afternoon," he said. "That's the good thing about keeping the team together."
He said he's got a total of 32 kids on the team and that a few of them participated in summer conditioning workouts. Captain Danae Rivers said the team has looked strong in preseason workouts.
"We put the work in," she said. "We all finished and completed the workouts. We built up our mileage every week."
Rivers, who leads the girls team, finished first in the 5K portion of the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race. Gale said he expects good things from the Rivers and the rest of the girls team this fall.
"I have a real solid top three," he said. "The four-five-six-seven runners are going to change a lot. I hope those pieces can move closer to the top three."
The team's have done more than just running, according to Boys team captain Emmanuel Ruiz. He said the teams play ultimate Frisbee every Friday after workouts, they hang out off the course and Saturday they are having a car wash.
"As a team we see each other, we laugh, we hug, we cry together," Ruiz said. "This is just like a family. We feel comfortable together."
Ruiz leads in a boys group that Gale said will post big numbers this season. He said one of his team's strongest attributes is depth.
"Top five, top six are probably going to be within a minute of each other," the coach said. "I'm excited because they finally listened to me this summer and trained."
Gale said the runners training in the summer shows they are eager to be a part of a running program at Wilbur Cross. And Gale, who is also a gym teacher at Cross, said he has even snagged two sophomores boys with hopes of getting in shape for basketball and put them on the team. He said it is all part of building a program.
"The family bond has improved and that's going to continue because of kids talking in the building," he said. "Being a phys ed. teacher definitely helps me with pulling kids into cross country. It's going to create a bigger program."
Danae Rivers said she has received an offer from Cornell. She said she is also looking at Princeton and wants to ran cross country and track in college. ... Meanwhile Ruiz said he is looking to stay in state, at University of New Haven and Albertus Magnus to name a few. He also hopes to run in college.
COME OUT AND SUPPORT:
The cross country teams will be holding a car wash fund raiser Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the school to raise money for end-of-season awards and to meet entry fees.