Top pairs continue to improve, set pace

There apparently is a bit of a discrepancy with the Augusta boys cross country team's top two runners.

When asked who was faster, sophomore Jacob Hall said he was. Brandan Forsythe, of course, disputed that and said he was the faster of the two.

"There's always some friendly competition there," Hall said.

Regardless of who is actually faster, one thing is clear. Hall and Forsythe will be leading the Orioles' pack this coming cross country season. The two runners, who also work together during track season, will do whatever is necessary both to improve their personal time and help each other.

"We just joke around during practice about who is faster, but then we just try to push ourselves through the race," Forsythe said.

Forsythe, a senior in his second year of cross country, said he came into the season in great shape.

"I ran a lot over the summer, just around town," Forsythe said.

He said pacing himself so he can finish strongly is a big key to improve this year. He wants to be able to push himself at the end of races and not let other runners sneak ahead of him with no time left to catch them.

Hall, just a sophomore, has plenty to build on after a stellar first season last year.

"I just want to train harder," Hall said. "Now that I have a little more perspective, I think I can."

With these two runners, coach Steve Reichardt can tell they can do great things this season.

"They might run with the group for a little bit, but the next thing you know, they're gone," Reichardt said. "...Some kids do this to get ready for something else, wrestling, basketball, and that's fine. But they are runners. That's what they do."

As for the rest of the boys team, there are plenty of other solid athletes who could contribute to the Orioles' team score. Wright Bosley and the Moore brothers, Josh and Nathan, are outstanding wrestlers during winter season, and they know a thing or two about staying in shape.

Other young runners include Logan Allen, Cody Wesbrooks and Josh Reichardt.

"We have a really nice combination of really good, strong senior leadership and then we've got a nice young group of kids. Some have ran before, some haven't," said coach Reichardt.

"Anything you can do..."

The Orioles also have a strong duo on the girls cross country team. Seniors Cassidy Hartup and Kassidy Thompson both had standout seasons last year consistently leading the Orioles.

Though Hartup is a four-year runner, she was a little surprised after she earned All-League honors last season. She didn't even know how far ahead in the race she was until she looked back and saw she was ahead of a lot of runners.

"That was a big surprise, because I didn't even think I was doing that well," she said.

While Hartup wants to improve on her times consistently, she isn't putting pressure on herself. "I know what I'm capable of, so I'll definitely have higher expectations," she said, "but honestly, I'm just going to enjoy my last year."

Thompson, who has good physical size for a runner, and Hartup often push each other during a race, as well. Last year, Thompson usually finished the 2.5-mile in the 17-minute range.

"She's so tall, she has such long legs," Hartup said of her teammate.

Senior Bailey Reichardt found herself wanting to keep up with the Oriole duo. Reichardt always set mini goals for herself, even if it meant just improving her placing on the team by beating her teammates.

"Definitely last year, we got that competitiveness a little bit," Bailey said.

Reichardt, who emerged as a stellar track runner in the sprint races last spring, knows the different styles and preparations that go along with running cross country. She said she's in good shape at the start of this season, though more challenges lie ahead.

Other runners who could contribute to the team this season include Hannah Kellogg, Sydney Williams, Clara Kellogg, Sarah Linder, Payton Nusz Kylie Wesbrooks and Anna Moore.

"Definitely endurance buildup is what I have to focus on," Bailey said. "I'm doing better. The heat is not helping, though."

All in the family

Running is strong in the Reichardt family.

For coach Reichardt, it's a special season because he'll be able to coach both his daughter Bailey and son Josh for one year before Bailey graduates.

"It's a pleasure coaching your own kids," Reichardt said. "I was coached by my father through high school and I really appreciated those days. I appreciate it more now that I"m on the other end of it."

As for coaching them, Steve said he tries to keep it the same, but he said it's hard.

"If you're on the way home, it's easy to say, 'You know, you could've gone a little harder,'" Reichardt said with a laugh.