Schools facing lockdowns, sports teams facing season cancellations, and students facing uncertainties. In the midst of all of these factors and in the face of one of the worst global pandemics in a century, you wouldn’t be mistaken to have low expectations for a small-town, high school cross country team.
However, in the face of uncertainty, Bangor High School set their hopes high and their determination even higher. This summer, the Bangor High School cross country team set out to collectively log 10,000 miles. Together, the team collectively managed to surpass their goal, averaging approximately 1,100 miles per week, during their optional summer training.
“In 20, years of coaching cross country, I’ve never seen this level of commitment to summer training.” Bangor Coach Roger Huber stated. “I give zero credit to the training plans and I give all the credit to the kids just wanting to have some control over their lives and to be able to take charge of something in this strange period of time.”
According to Coach Huber, he did not partake in any in-person coaching over the summer. “It actually makes it even more remarkable that these kids were able to do this on their own with only a bit of minimal nagging from me,” he stated.
This all begs the question of why. In what world would student-athletes choose to do this? With the Fall sports season looking seemingly gloom, it is incredibly shocking that these high school runners would take on such a bold pre-season plan.
Bangor High School senior Gordon Doore, who individually ran more than 600 miles this summer, said that the logic behind the ambitious plan, was about much more than just preparation for a Fall season. “We’ve created a culture of really enjoying the sport,” he stated. We prioritize good training because that’s really important in doing well, but also (in) having fun with it.”
Coach Huber also utilized an electric log, in which team-members could track each other’s progress, to keep each other motivated in reaching their collective goal. Surpassing their original objective to log 10,000 miles over the summer, both the women and men’s cross country teams at Bangor High School, are now striving to win top state and regional honors in the upcoming season.
“The boy’s team has been singularly focused on winning a state title,” Coach Huber stated. “They’ve made a huge investment in themselves, in their team, in the program, and I just hope they get their shot.”
Currently the plans for Bangor High School’s athletics program remain unknown. The Maine Principals’ Administration has recently granted approval for competitive high school cross country races. Despite this, Bangor’s school district has chosen not to announce plans for their Fall sports season. Final decisions are expected to be made within the coming weeks. No matter what happens to the Bangor High School cross country team’s season, their determination and resolve will not go unnoticed.
The Bangor High School cross country team’s accomplishments make them a stand-out team, and a force to be reckoned with in future cross country conferences. If Bangor runners were willing to push themselves this far in the midst of a pandemic, imagine what they will do with a guaranteed season. The future looks promising for the Rams cross country team. Season or no season, the Rams of Bangor High School proved that athletic excellence in the COVID-19 age can and should exist in high schools and colleges throughout the U.S.