Boys Cross Country Makes History

The boys xc team makes history by becoming the first team since 2007 to secure a spot at regionals


Dave Ciccarelli

Seniors Dagim (left) and Mahiteme (right) sprint to get an early lead in their race

Cameron Foti, Sports Editor

History was made on Thursday, the boys cross country team ran in the 6A North regional meet at Burke Lake. Performing well in this meet would secure a spot in the state championship meet at The Plains, but they were not able to meet their high standards.

Senior Dagim Tigabu finished in 52nd place with a time of 16:38, freshman Mikyas Sahlu finished next for the atoms with a time of 16:42 in 60th place, followed by Abbey Yared, Ethan Zimmerman, Mahiteme Tigabu, Zaid Al Kahfah, and then Tyler Westfall.

This is the first cross country season with the team’s new coach, Dave Ciccarelli. Ciccarelli has brought many new changes and vibes to the team. “We changed the culture this year to a culture of extremely hard work, high mileage, intense intervals, repeat hill work and significant increase in upper body core strength training,” Ciccarelli said.

A major part of racing is getting over the discomfort of running. This season, the team has worked to become more accustomed to that feeling so on race day they can overcome it and do their best.

“This difficult training regimen translated into the team’s ability to better withstand the pain and discomfort inherent to racing. The end result was faster times and better team finishes,” Ciccarelli said.

Many of the boys have improved from last season and have broken many of their personal best times.  “This year I got worked a lot harder by coach Chic and dropped my best time by over a minute from the previous year,” said sophomore Abbey Yared.

“Last year I was running in the 17:40 for a 5k but, this year I ended up running 16:09,” said senior Mahiteme Tigabu.

Practice was a huge factor in the team’s success this season. Without the unwearying effort put into practice, it would’ve been a lot harder for them to reach the their goals.

“The key to success in any endurance sport is increasing the body’s ability to move oxygen into the bloodstream and it is this type of aerobic work that gets this done. We combined this with lots of upper body and core work to better maintain form in a race when the body is significantly fatigued,” Ciccarelli said.

This season, the team was led by the twins, Mahiteme and Dagim Tigabu.

“Having my brother by my side is always motivating. The sibling competition between us is so intense that I’ll do whatever it takes to win.” said Mahiteme

The boys were very reflective of the season after the meet.

“My favorite part of the season is when every person on the team medaled and broke their personal record at a meet,” Mahiteme said.

Many of the boys have become faster throughout the offseason by training on their own,

“In many of the distance workouts the boys are run much faster than in previous years,” Ciccarelli said.

The atoms, on paper, are most likely going to make the state meet in the upcoming year. They have smashed their coaches wildest expectations for the season.

“My goal when I accepted the position of head boys Cross Country Coach was to have the team Advanced from the conference Championship to the regional meet in 3 years,” Ciccarelli said, “The boys did it in only one.”

Most of the team will now be transitioning into indoor track mode, with the season just around the corner, about a week or two away.

Most to all of the skills used out on the course this fall can and will be brought to the track this winter. Luckily, they will still have their coaches to lead them to  more success as the colder days come upon us.

It was unexpected for the boys cross country team to make it to regionals this year. But with the tireless effort and great coaching, the team smashed the expectations for the season and made history.

“I could not possibly more proud of what they have accomplished.” Ciccarelli said. “They have set the example and tone for long-term success that, hopefully, will be sustained for years to come.”