Lafayette Cross Country

The running rams take on a challenging season with one main goal: to make it to states.


Amy Coleman

Senior Captain, Allison Crookston finishes strong at the end of the long race. A York runner tries to beat Allison in the final stretch, but Allison was able to out kick her.

Pain. Sharp pain right under the left rib cage that doesn’t go away. With every breath, the pain gets more and more intense. Just keep pushing. That’s what Cross Country runners go through all the time. This sport comes with a lot of pain and soreness. Whenever the pain starts to get too much, the runners on Lafayette’s cross country team think about one goal: making it to States.

Lafayette Cross Country coach John Piggott believes our Rams have a great chance of getting to States this year.  “If we stay focused and work hard,” he said.  “If everyone can keep working out we will go to states. I really do think we can.” On the subject of whether the team has grown beyond their previous challenges he said, “Oh yes. I think we are more solid than last year.”

This season so far, a lot of our runners have made big moves in the races including one of the captains, Senior Allison Crookston. Allison recently won the race at Poquoson, against Tabb, Bruton, and Poquoson. At the New Kent meet on October 8th, she battled it out on the course against Tabb, New Kent, and York, and came out victorious.

After the tough race at New Kent, some of the cross country boys act goofy and pose for a silly picture. The team is a very close group, and no one is ever excluded. Not even when they are having fun after a race.
Some of the girls pose for a picture after the race at New Kent. Pictured Top (Left to Right) Isabel O’Connor, Harper Wagner, Makaela Brown, Delaney Cox, Allison Crookston, Morgan Schlimme, Milagro Riofrio, Lena Shelly, Mikala Hess, Emma Grace Stelljes. Pictured Bottom (Left to Right) Samantha Burcham, Kali Panoutsos, Brook Schlimme, and Megan Pruitt.

Speaking of the race, Allison said, “It was pretty good. I raced really hard. The hills were pretty okay.” Allison also has a pretty good idea about how the girls are running this year.When asked about the team compared to last year, she said, “We are a bigger team and we are working well together and pushing each other. We are definitely better than last year.” Allison is Lafayette’s best girl runner and has insight to the team’s future, specifically if the team is going to states this year.   “Since we are 3A we just need to work on grouping and we can definitely go.”

So far, this season the running Rams have raced at Warhill, Poquoson, New Kent, and  the Invitational at Pocahontas State Park. At each race, every runner gave it their all. Despite the scorching 95 degree temperatures at the Warhill meet, our team still competed very well. Many of the Lafayette runners finished in the top five including Senior Brenner Beard and Senior Allison Crookston. At the Poquoson meet, the runners were able to enjoy the very flat terrain, and a warm 75-degrees race that resulted in many personal records. The Invitational was a challenge, but the team took it in stride, facing a very hilly course and unfamiliar teams. On October 8th, they took on New Kent. It was rough due to the cold, bitter weather, but the boys team finished strong in second place. The girls team had a tough loss and were defeated by the three other teams. They lost to New Kent by only two points, and while this seems like a tough loss, the girls are now working harder to beat them.

After losing much of last year’s team to college, the team has added many new runners this year including Freshmen Delaney Cox, one of the best on the team. Also new to the team is Mikala Hess, who has stepped up and has been running with the fastest of the girls. There are more new runners to the team, and each one has contributed to the team in their own way. Joining Cross Country at Lafayette is truly like joining a family.

Coach John Piggott poses with Senior Captain Scottie Coleman after the New Kent race. Coach P is known to be seen at multiple parts of the course during races and is always there to cheer on our running rams.

The boys have also lost a lot of runners last year. Brenner Beard is the only guy left who ran at regionals and states. Despite the loss to the

Junior Makaela Brown finishes strong at the end of the New Kent race. It is Makaela’s first year running cross country and she has worked very hard all season.

team, many have stepped up to the plate to fill these big shoes, including Junior Dru Dunn.  When asked about how it feels to be filling the spots of such a good group of runners, Dru said, “It’s a lot of pressure because I know I’m a lot slower.” Dru, a returning Junior on the team, did not have to think at all when asked if the teams were going to states.  “Yes.” When asked if moving down from region 4A to 3A was the reason the team would advance to states, Dru said, “No. I think we’d make it anyway.”

Over the next few weeks, the runners will continue to work hard every day. Everyone has only one goal in mind, and that is to make it to states. So, until regionals comes around, the grind won’t stop, and neither will the running rams.