The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

Rain Ushers In A Tougher XC Course

When rain caused part of Stratford’s cross country course to collapse last month, the school was forced to bring in heavy excavation equipment in order to repair the path in time for Stratford’s home meet.

The affected area of the course — which is about a 1.5 mile loop —  was adjacent to the creek and about 100 yards beyond the bridge into the woods.

“The trail was damaged when heavy rains washed out an area next to the creek,” said Mr. Jeff Treadway, who is the director of grounds.

The washout made it impossible to run the course safely, according to Girls Cross Country Coach Ginny Reeves.

“Part of the creek bank along the trail caved in, causing the trail to become very narrow.  The trail would not be wide enough to run the runners through in a meet without widening it,” said Reeves, who has coached cross country at Stratford for 12 seasons.

Adding urgency to the situation was that the collapse occurred just before Stratford’s home cross country meet, which was held on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

To repair the course, Treadway called in the professionals.

“Evergreen Lawn and Garden landscapers came in with a mini excavator and took out some small trees and leveled off the new area,” Treadway said.  “Fixing the course took about a day.”

The repairs added a small incline to that part of the course, which was previously flat.

“To fix it, they had to bring in some heavy equipment to detour the trail around the caved-in part.  There was a pretty big tree in the way, so they had to go around it.  In order to do that, they had to go up a little incline which the runners do not like,” Reeves said.

Both Reeves and Boys Cross Country Coach Ian Hayley said that the change in the course should not affect the harriers too much, with Hayley  describing the fix as “a bump, a little detour creating a little hill, and a little down hill.  Insignificant but it needed to be done for the safety of the runners.”

“It did make the course a tiny bit harder because it did add an incline on the part of the course.  They have to go through that one part four times during the race,” Reeves said of the change.

Stratford runners said that the new hill made the course more difficult, but also that they could use the hill to their advantage in races.

“I prefer how the course was before the change.  Now, the change just makes it harder — an extra hill,” said Chandler Banks, a senior and five-year varsity runner.  “But, if we practice on it more, it is a better way for us to take advantage and get better as runners.”

Sophomore and three-year varsity runner Julianna Hightower said she agreed with Banks.

“Obviously I don’t like the change that much, but it gives us, as runners, an advantage because we get to practice and prepare by running it while other teams have to run it for the first time,” Hightower said (Julianna Hightower is the reporter’s sister).

“Yes, I most definitely believe our course is a benefit to us. It has so many hills which helps build our stamina, so when we hit flat courses we don’t have to worry about hills and our times improve,” Hightower added.

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Rain Ushers In A Tougher XC Course