Sports

Kingston cross country team dashes to districts

Junior captain Marina Roberts dives over another cross country runner during practice on Oct. 20. The teams were training using the “fireman drill.” Typically the drill does not involve a high jump pit, but the team brought one out just for fun. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
Junior captain Marina Roberts dives over another cross country runner during practice on Oct. 20. The teams were training using the “fireman drill.” Typically the drill does not involve a high jump pit, but the team brought one out just for fun.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

KINGSTON ­— The light-footed members of the Kingston cross country team are running into the postseason undefeated.

The coed team held an 8-0 record for the regular season as they entered the Olympic League Championships on Oct. 21.

“Going undefeated in the regular season really shows what our chances are for the rest of the season,” said senior captain Nick Schippers.

The zero in the loss column is the first in the Kingston boys cross country team’s history, head coach Karla Laubach said.

Schippers is one of four team captains and began running cross country in seventh grade after his father suggested he try it. His father, himself removed by a couple of decades from his running days in college, did not push him to run. He stuck with it on his own accord, Schippers said.

As captain, Schippers passes on his father’s advice to his teammates, Laubach said. The advice for which he is a conduit has made him invaluable to the team.

“(Schippers) was awesome to watch develop as a runner,” Laubach said.

Throughout the season, Schippers has placed in the top five and often the top three runners of the boys race during cross country meets. In the final meet of the regular season on Oct. 9 against Bremerton High and Olympic High, Schippers’ 2.4 mile time of 15:00 racked up a first-place win.

“There are a lot of runners on our team stepping up,” Schippers said. “This should continue to be a strong team.”

Approximately 70 students showed up for the team this season, which has helped an informal mentoring relationships develop between the older and younger players, Schippers said.

“There will be people to replace (Schippers), but those students will need to grow a little more as runners before that happens,” Laubach said.

Being undefeated isn’t unchartered territory for the girls team — this is the team’s second consecutive undefeated season.

The girl’s team has been burning up the track, with runners like junior captain Marina Roberts and Rose Bishop leading the way.

“When my sister (Ruby Roberts) was on the team she was often right in front of me or right next to me,” Roberts said. “That was something that helped push me along in the past.”

Roberts began running when she was about 5 years old and started running competitively in middle school on the track team. The Roberts sisters took a friendly sibling rivalry to a competitive level when she, Ruby and Annie Roberts ran on the same team, Roberts said.

Running alongside her sisters keeps her motivated, she said.

Roberts placed second last year at the cross country state championships in the 5 kilometer (3.2 mile) race with an 18:28. Ruby placed first.

Without Ruby to chase after, she has found alternative methods to reach her personal records during meets.

“I always imagine that someone is right behind me when I’m racing,” Roberts said. “I think about her catching up and sometimes it helps me pick up my speed.”

As a captain, Roberts leads through example. On the course she is quiet, but her energy and dedication stands out, Laubach said.

“Every day you know what to expect from her,” Laubach said. “And every time you see her run by there always seems to be a smile on her face.”

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