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Kingston cross country team raises the bar
By KIPP ROBERTSON
KINGSTON — The Kingston Buccaneers cross country team went to state last season and new head coach Karla Laubach is expecting more of the same.
Laubach already has a history with the team, as she served as assistant coach for head coach Roger Coffman, kept expectations high for the team, she said.
“We have an excellent chance to place in the top three,” Laubach said. “Only a few varsity runners left and there are plenty of students showing potential.”
A record number of students — about 70 — signed up for cross country this year and the students who are carrying over from junior year to senior will make up for the runners who graduated, Laubach said.
Among the graduated runners is Ruby Roberts, who took finished in first place overall in the 2A division last season. Her sister, junior Marina Roberts, took second place overall and will stay on the team.
“We’ll miss Ruby, but I have seen everyone on the team stepping up this season,” Laubach said. “With Marina’s dedication I have a feeling she will fill Ruby’s shoes no problem and there will be plenty of others trying to do the same.”
The large turn out of students means more than a strong team this year, it is also a promising sign for following years.
If the new runners stick with the program while they attend high school, that means more experience being carried from one year to the next, assistant coach Suzanne Hermanson said.
Before his departure as coach, Coffman set up a cross country program based on talent and attitude. His coaching showed runners how positive encouragement could lead to success, Laubach said.
“Coffman worked really hard on creating a good atmosphere for these kids,” she said.
The team ran into a few problems last year, including runners becoming ill early in the season. Illness was not a huge factor in how the season played out, but Laubach said the runners are being encouraged to get enough rest during the week and not to come in close contact with anyone who is sick.
The Buccaneers competed in the Kitsap Jamboree on Thursday, and prepare to take a trip up to Bellingham for the Sehome Invite. Results for the Kitsap Jamboree were not available at presstime.
A goal for the teams have been set for the season, and Laubach wants to see them make it into the top three in the state, she said.
“I set a goal that I feel is reasonable for the team’s to accomplish,” Laubach said. “But I think a lot of them are setting their goals even higher … we’ll see what happens.”