HART – The Hart girls cross country team is pursuing its fifth straight state championship this season. If they succeed, they will join Rockford as the second lower peninsula school to win five straight.
The Pirates lost three of their top seven runners to graduation but coach Terry Tatro and the team are confident in what they have returning.
“We have a great team. We all push each other and motivate each other and help keep each other calm,” said senior Audrianna Enns.
Terry Tatro, with the help of his wife Linda, is in his 23rd season as the cross country coach at Hart.
Tatro said the team tries to avoid talking about the quest for the fifth straight title much because he wants them to feel as little pressure as possible.
“We talked about it yesterday but really during the season we try not to. We kind of just take it a day at a time because I don’t want to get them to the point where that’s something they’re thinking about constantly,” Tatro said.
“There’s a lot of teams that are kind of gunning for us and they really want that state title and to kind of set us off. But we still are having fun with it and we just have to stay focused on the goal,” senior Lauren VanderLaan said.
Hart placed fourth out of 25 schools in its first meet of the year — the Pete Moss Invite at Benzie Central.
Hart’s boys cross country team is one of the best teams in the state as well. The Pirates finished as state runners-up last season and are hoping to get over the hump and win their first state title.
The girls and boys teams often warm up and practice with each other. While there’s a lot of love and support for each other in the program, there’s certainly some friendly ribbing from the girls about the success they’ve enjoyed.
“Well it’s always a little bit irritating always seeing the girls walk away with the state title but I mean they’re our teammates so it’s also something to celebrate,” said junior Clayton Ackley.
“There’s a lot of competition. We have a lot of fun here,” said senior Noah Bosley. “We try to make practice fun and there’s a lot of support with coach and a lot of parents step up and are supporting us. That’s the fun part about it.”
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