Ladue XC takes on nationals

The+Ladue+Boys+Cross+Country+team+lines+up+for+a+picture+before+their+trip.

The Ladue Boys Cross Country team lines up for a picture before their trip.

After a record-breaking season, the cross country team took some time off to recover before they started their winter training for the track and field season. During their two week break a few of the runners took a weekend trip to watch the NCAA Division I Championships race in Terre Haute, Indiana with their coach Richard Witt.

It wasn’t the first time the members took a weekend trip, however. Thirteen runners were taken to Columbia, Missouri to run at state. One of the runners there, Benjamin Goeke, who’s a Junior but only a first-year runner for Ladue, ended up running as the sixth fastest on the team. State hosts the best teams and runners in the state, so it was a big deal for the team, and Goeke to make it.

“It was an amazing experience,” Goeke said. “There were so many people and I had a lot of fun running with the boys.”

Just two weeks after state championships, Witt, assistant coach Dan Sebben, and five of the runners took the school’s van to Terre Haute. They left Nov. 22, right after school ended. The drive itself only took about three hours, but a few stops were made for gas, snacks, and bathroom breaks.

“The trip there was actually really smooth,” Witt said.

After a fun night in their hotel, the boys got a good nights rest to prep for a busy day. When the day of the race came, a front brought pouring rain and finger-biting cold. Although the conditions were harder to deal with, spirits were high. Everyone was excited about having the chance to watch such a spectacle of young, athletic talent.

“It was cool to see all of the nation’s best runners in a huge competition,” Goeke said.

The races lasted a few hours, and then the event was over. The coaches and boys went back to their van, which was parked in one of the many grass parking lots, and packed their stuff back into it. Once everyone was in the van and ready to leave, Witt tried to pull away, but couldn’t. The weight of the luggage and the van itself was enough to sink into the mud and get it stuck.

“They tried to get us out with pickups, which got stuck, so they called for a wrecker, which also got stuck. They finally got a tractor which eventually pulled us out. It was a three hour ordeal,” Witt said.