Vikings look to make a run at new season
The AHSTW Vikings are gearing up for another season of cross country set to begin in a few weeks. The Vikings will have nine athletes on the course this year, including returners Rylie Knop, Caleb Hatch and Caden Geraghty.
“I’m extremely excited to see what we’ve got as a team,” said Viking Head Coach Jackson Renberg. “On the boys side, we have two runners in Caleb Hatch and Caden Geraghty. On the girls side Rylie Knop is our top returner and we look forward to seeing her build on her last two years of success.”
During their 2022 season, Knop was the fastest among the girls finishing her fastest 5 kilometer race in 20:25.41. Ella Langer, Makenna & Ava Paulsen, and Makena Petersen are all returners looking to have another strong season. New athletes joining the girls team include Freshman Bella Lamp and Yana Lander.
“Bella Lamp is a newcomer that we are exited about and she’s been running with Rylie throughout the first few practices,” Renberg added.
Geraghty was the fastest among the boys with a time of 18:35.00, with Hatch right behind him at 18:38.00.
“Caleb Hatch is coming into his final season and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring,” Renberg said. “The other runner is Caden Geraghty who had a breakout year last year.”
Renberg has emphasized taking care of the body is going to be key to having a strong season and avoiding injuries along the way, as well as coming together as a team.
“As a coach I am trying to push team culture more,” he said. “This is something that always helps, especially on those very tough days of the season. I think another thing we need to fix is taking care of our bodies. I am trying to make sure the kids have more opportunities to stretch before and after practice. Hydration and putting good food in their body is also going to be stressed as well. I also think finding ways to implement more softer surfaces in our running throughout the season is going to be emphasized to keep our team as healthy as possible.”
The Vikings first meet will take place Aug. 22 at the Shenandoah Early Bird event where they will be one of 13 schools competing.
“The Shenandoah course is a fair course with some good hills and some flat areas as well,” Renberg said. “The course isn’t extremely difficult, but for it being our first meet it will be a tough one for the group. I look forward to seeing where we’re at time-wise and building on that for the rest of the season. Obviously it’s not going to be make or break, but we want to utilize every opportunity throughout the year to get better.”
Renberg talked about some of the tougher schools the Vikings will go up against during their season.
“We will see a lot of different teams both small and large,” he said. “I am trying not to focus on other teams this year and only focus on ourselves. I will say Southwest Iowa has a lot of good teams and tough courses. I think conference-wise for girls, Logan-Magnolia, IKM-Manning, and Treynor are all solid teams. On the boys side I think Tri-Center and IKM-Manning will be really good teams in our conference. Both lost some good runners, but they seem to always consistently push out good runners on the boys side.”