CEDAR RAPIDS — The 2017 journey has ended, and goodbyes can be tough.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier boys’ cross country team finished its season on Oct. 28 at the state meet in Fort Dodge. The Saints placed 11th in Class 3A. Their top finishers were seniors Jon Lansing, placing 34th; John Pape, 45th; and Nolan Pithan, 57th.
Six of Xavier’s top runners are seniors Colby Flynn, Lansing, Pape, Pithan, Keegan Schultschik and Joe Scieszinski. The underclassmen are juniors Nathan Hagarty, Grant Schnoebelen, Grayson Walther and sophomore Jack Renning.
The competition in Class 3A this year was better than in the past. The Saints finished with an almost identical time as last year, but placed three spots further back.
The senior class guided the team to success.
“I’m really going to miss our senior class next year. Our 11 seniors provided a great amount of leadership and experience to our team as a whole,” Coach Nate Hopp said. “They helped build the successful culture that our boys’ cross country program has had over the years. We will lose a lot, but I am excited to see what our returning runners can do for next season.”
Cross country brought more lessons than just running. The seniors made a big impact on the team, but also learned a lot from their younger teammates.
“I have learned the importance of teammates and how they can help you and push you to do your best,” Lansing said. “I learned that a great coach like Coach Hopp can be a rarity, so you should not take him for granted. He has taught me to always be open to new experiences, because you never know what kind of path they will open up for you. The team has made a huge impact on me.”
Looking to the future, the team will be very different next year.
“I am really going to miss the seniors,” Walther said. “They have made a big impact on the team, and always push others to work hard. It will be different without them next year. We will be working hard to keep in shape over the winter and spring and come back ready to go next season, and hopefully get back to the state meet.”
The Saints hope to make a fourth consecutive trip to the state meet in 2018.