Boys Cross Country Works Hard Towards Regionals


Katie Pope, Staff Writer

Since their season started, the boys cross country team has hit the ground running and improved their times in hopes of making the regionals tournament in late November. 

In order to make it, the Atoms have to place in the top four out of eight teams at the Patriot Conference meet. It is scheduled to take place on Oct 26.

“Patriot Conference is my favorite meet because it’s the last race, so you can see how much you’ve improved,” junior Tyler Westfall said.  

Patriot Conference is a varsity meet in which eight teams and the top seven individual runners from each school will race and compete to earn a spot at regionals.At the meet before a race, the team analyzes the course and plan their strategy, so they know exactly what to do.  

“I’d treat and prepare conference and regionals just like any other meet, the name of the race shouldn’t change your routine or strategy,” senior Dagim Tigabu said.

The Atoms have three great coaches this year, including Assistant coaches Thomas Caine and Ivy Jordan. 

“My strategy for motivating the boys is reminding them there’s always a little more they can run even when they’re tired and think they’ve achieved their limit,” Jordan said.  

Coaches and runners have different ways of motivation.  

“My motivation for while I’m running is the faster I run, the faster I’ll be done,” Westfall said.  

No matter where the motivation comes from or the type of motivation, the Atoms continue to strive towards greatness. 

“I’m very proud of how well the boys have done so far and am very excited to see how they do at conference,” Jordan said.

The boys cross country team owes a huge thanks to new head coach, Dave Ciccarelli.  In his first year as head coach of the boys cross country team at Annandale, Ciccarelli has been a great addition to the team.  

“He is a unique coach and if you follow what he says, you will improve and get better,” senior Mahiteme Tigabu said.  

He is an experienced cross country coach being that he was a former cross country coach at Woodgrove High School, and he is very well liked by the Atoms.  He pushes the Atoms to get better each and every day which helps them qualify for higher level meets. 

The team is hopeful to reach meets such as conference, regionals and maybe even states.  

“He [Ciccarelli] has worked us a lot harder than in the past,” Dagim said. 

For practices the Atoms run an average of six miles per day and sometimes they’ll even run ten miles.  “He knows how to make us give him our best,” Westfall said.

As a result of great coaching and hard work, many of the boys have broken their personal records multiple times throughout the year. 

“Coach Ciccarelli has made an impact on me in so many ways, he made me mentally tougher and stronger” Mahiteme said.

From the Atoms’ first meet of the season, the Great Meadows Invitational to the team’s fifth meet of the season, the team has improved greatly.

In the DCXC Invitational, three runners dropped over a minute off of their first time, six Atoms dropped over two minutes, two more dropped over four minutes, and one runner dropped nearly a whole 12 minutes off of their previous time.

Dagim Tigabu got a personal record of 17.25 for a 5 kilometer run (3.1 miles) during his first meet of the season at the Great Meadows Invitational.    

“This year I’m in the top 10, so I’m pretty excited to race,” Dagim said.  

Mahiteme is just a few seconds behind Dagim with a personal record of 16.19 minutes which could very well get him into regionals alongside Dagim.

 The team’s next three meets are at Franconia Park, Millbrook HS, and Lake Fairfax on Oct. 13th, 15th, and 19th.  After that, it’s finally time for the Atoms to take on Patriot Conference.