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Greenbacks working hard to get in shape for cross country

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School senior Kaiser Pelland and sophomore Kaden Barker are working on getting in shape for running during early morning practices, along with a strong-in-numbers Greenback team.

Pratt High School Cross Country Head Coach Kathy Hitz said that cross country competitions will look a little different this year for the Greensbacks, and that while there are still many unknowns and the possibility for changes, she and her team plan to live, and, run, in the moment, and celebrate each and every step. 

“Well we have to accept the reality that we will be facing a lot of unknowns this season, and many of them of course are not what we want,” Hitz said, “That being said, my goal for this team and this season is that we be in the moment and celebrate every step. We will have a memorable season!” 

Changes for this year's athletes include wearing masks when not running during practices, wearing masks on bus rides, and maintaining the same training groups. For meets, teams will not mingle, and team camps will be more spread out. Runners will have to wear masks when lined up on the start line and until they spread apart during the race. Coach Hitz said that this rule will most likely be altered as the season progresses and coaches and directors can fine-tune to see what works best. Spectators will also probably be required to wear masks. 

Coach Hitz said that the biggest challenge for runners, and it seems to be a recurring one, is getting back into shape after such a long time off. She also said that the Greenbacks sometimes struggle with managing injuries. 

As for strengths, the PHS cross country team has the most girl runners that it has seen in the last decade with 12 female athletes getting ready to compete. Included in that number are returning state medalers Sian Helfrich, (sr.) and Addie Hoeme, (Jr.), as well as runners from the state qualifying team Casey James (jr.), MacKenzie Shanline, (jr.), Makenna Burkholder, (soph.), Emma Gilpin, (soph.) and Jenna Haas (soph.). Freshman runners include Allie Hoeme and Grace May. 

On the boys side, there are 8 runners out ready to represent the Greensbacks. Five of those are returning varsity runners, including Kaiser Pelland, (sr.), Darrian Cox, (jr.), Noah Davidson (jr.), Tony Adame (soph.) and Tayt Myers (soph.).