As the 2019 cross-country season comes to a new start, the bells sport one of the best teams in the state and potentially one of the best teams in Bellarmine History.
To preview this season, I sat down with Senior Matt Eckstrom to discuss the 2019 season.
Noah: So Matthew, as the season begins, what are some of the goals for the team?
Matthew: There are the goals of doing well in the postseason, making it to states and doing well there but there are also the goals of continuing to build a good team culture so that when the upperclassmen graduate that the current underclassmen will be able to step up and take the torch.
Unlike any Bellarmine team, this one holds probably the most talent that has come around in a while. What makes this team so special?
What makes this team special compared to the last few years is I think that we have a better chance to do better at states this year, people have been working very hard and it is paying off, many of the people that have been on the team for a while can see the improvement and the chance that we have in this season to do well.
Any team can have great talent, but it takes great coaching to piece together a good team. How special is it to have such an intelligent and dedicated coach like Mr. McCrystle?
Having Mr. McCrystle as a coach is great. Not only is he a great leader and coach but he is also a great person. He along with the other coaches, Mr. Kniffin. Mr. Ferrari, Mr. Maloney, and Mr. Cozort push everyone to do their absolute best in workouts, races, and outside of Cross Country. They want us to be good runners but more importantly good people. The energy that the give off and their genuine care for the athletes as people is a really encouraging thing and makes people want to be this best.
Having a good team requires a lot of training and dedication. How committed are your runners and how much training goes into the season.
There is a lot of training that goes into the season. The training starts before the season officially starts, we run throughout the summer at places like Los Gatos in order to get our base built for the season so we are able to jump into workouts right when the season starts. In-season training is even harder with the workouts, weight room, core, and other drills that we do but the payoff for doing all of this becomes apparent in the improvements in time and ability of everyone.
Lastly, what makes this Bellarmine team so much fun and how do you guys create such a close bond amongst the whole team.
There are a lot of reasons that the team has such good chemistry. There is a big emphasis on the upperclassmen building connections with all the underclassmen on the team because a more coherent team makes a better team. If you have friends on the team that you can rely on and that help push you to keep working and getting better it makes the running a lot easier. There is also good chemistry because people on the team really care for each other as people if one person is having trouble with something other people on the team will help and be there from them when they need it.
Ass the Bells hit the ground running (no pun intended) they look to build on their historic success and push for another appearance at State this year.