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If Bethlehem’s motto is, “Hard work pays off,” then head coach Eddie Masterson is hoping this will be the breakout season for his runners.
“We have built our numbers, and our kids have shown a lot of endurance,” he said. “This is a physical sport, but I feel we could make a good run this season. Our region is going to be tough, but a trip to the state is not out of the question.”
The Eagles are led by a four-year letterman Daniel Riley. The senior has been running the uneven terrains enough to know it will take endurance and stamina to post a banner season.
“I just want to get to state — I don’t really care about my times,” Riley said. “It would be nice if we could go as a team, but any individuals heading to state would be nice. This year I am really pushing myself and I expect us to compete really well, but it will take hard work and dedication from all of us.”
The boys’ squad also looks to toe the line in a new relevant fashion from the guidance of a new assistant coach. Deion Collins has been working with the runners during the offseason with conditioning and consistency, and Masterson said he feels his Eagles will be stronger and faster this year.
The Banshees will also be led by an experienced runner, as Claire Livers returns for her final year.
“We have a full team this season, and that means a lot,” she said. “It would be nice to go to state, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I just want to improve my time each chance I get, and to stay focused out there. We need to do the best we can and give it our all.”
Cross country courses can be fierce, with rugged grounds, hills and valleys, and the weather can play a major role at any time.
But, the girls’ squad is ready to step up and is looking for a prolonged adventurous year. They’ve added to their depth chart as transfer Caroline Collins, from Bullitt East, comes on board.
“I have been running since I was in seventh grade and I’m excited to be here,” the sophomore said. “It’s fun and running gives you energy, and I think we should fare well.
Collins participated in state competition last year and said the girls are aiming their focus on the region first before looking onward.
“I’m very pleased with our girls squad,” Masterson said. “We haven’t fielded a complete girls team in a few years, but we have built our middle school program, and it has paid off.”
Masterson initiated the sport at Bethlehem when he began eight years ago, and said he would love to see all of his runners do well this season.