West High Celebrates Cross Country State Championships

The West Warriors Cross Country team celebrates their state championship victory on top of a double decker bus. The celebration led by Coach Druten and his runners was well-deserved after a long and hard season. Varsity Runner Matthew Frey (12) felt amazed by what the team had accomplished, recognizing how “it feels great to be a part of the fastest team ever at West High, and [the] second fastest team time in the whole state.”

Art/Photo by Christopher Huston

The West Warriors Cross Country team celebrates their state championship victory on top of a double decker bus. The celebration led by Coach Druten and his runners was well-deserved after a long and hard season. Varsity Runner Matthew Frey (12) felt amazed by what the team had accomplished, recognizing how “it feels great to be a part of the fastest team ever at West High, and [the] second fastest team time in the whole state.”

Cyrilla Zhang, Sports Editor

  Pop! A confetti cannon fires from atop a bus. Streamers and bits of colorful paper float through the air and onto the crowd. Slowly moving down the street is the West High Band, a firetruck, Santa on a unicycle, the Cross Country team on a double-decker bus, and more! Instruments played and cheers filled the air as the parade made its way down Victor Street. 

   On December 13, the whole school gathered for a parade congratulating the Cross Country team on their DIII State Championships. Coach Druten planned an amazing festival so the students and staff at West could celebrate the occasion, concluding this year’s Cross Country season.

    “Seeing everyone coming out to the front of the school — all the cheering, it felt really cool. And the view of everyone from the bus was amazing,” exclaimed Kai Smith (12), a member of Varsity Cross. 

   Likewise, Cooper Acuesta (11) shared,“My favorite part of the parade was just enjoying that we as a team had finally accomplished our goals and this was the result. Seeing everyone from our school cheer for us was a really special feeling.”

   Members of the boys’ Cross Country team held up large printed pictures of the varsity team during the parade. Sean Toomey (10) led the procession with a large West High flag. The members slowly walked down the street as the bus full of champions trailed behind. “It was fun and the flag was way heavier than I thought,” Toomey said. Toomey is no stranger to persistence, and this season has not been without its obstacles. As a member of the boys’ Cross Country team, he felt it was “hard living up to the expectations of the top guys.” The Cross Country team has their sights set high, especially after winning state championships both in 2017 and 2021. He further explained, “With such a good cross [country] program, it really takes a lot of work to get into varsity.” 

   However, all the team’s hard work paid off! After a whole year of COVID hindering practices for all sports, getting back into the swing of things took some work. Smith felt that the most difficult part of this season was “getting back into regular training and rebuilding the motivation, since COVID shut everything down.” The Cross Country team trained constantly, no matter the time or weather. Aiming for first place while balancing school and life was bound to be difficult for members. As Yudai Shimizu (11), a member of the varsity Cross Country team recalled, “Waking up before the sun rose and getting a run in before school, especially on the days where I wanted to just stay in bed was the hardest.”

   Despite the difficulties, the team persevered to win State Championships. A parade was the perfect way to celebrate this momentous occasion and honor the hard work of West’s Cross Country. With the season now over and another state championship under their belt, the team looks forward to future successes!