Cross Country on the Mend

Conifer’s cross country team is back on top after a string of injuries and illnesses.

Oscar Yaun (Junior) and Wyatt Bly (Senior) sprint off the line at the start of the D’Evelyn Dash.

Patrick Doty

Oscar Yaun (Junior) and Wyatt Bly (Senior) sprint off the line at the start of the D’Evelyn Dash.

The Boy’s Cross Country team at Conifer had an unusually rocky start to their season, however, they appear to be on the mend and are still in pursuit of their 7th straight league title this year.  The team has won the past 6 league titles in a row, and Head Coach Brian Stotts intends to keep the streak going for one more year, despite all the setbacks occurring since the season started on August 8th.

“Our top guy got COVID right away and then proceeded to give it to everybody else on the team, and so we were just dealing with a lot of illness at the beginning of the season,”  Stotts said.  “that illness,” he elaborated, “isn’t just about people’s ability to run the races, but it’s also about the people’s ability to train together, and really push each other in the workouts.”


Stotts believes that a big part of the team’s success in the past few years comes from the team’s innate ability to work and train well together.  He believes in a hard work ethic and culture, and that the upperclassmen have “bought into that philosophy, and that they just keep teaching the younger kids the ways to be successful.”


However, early in the season the team was losing their key contributors and was having a hard time finding the groove in their own philosophy.


Senior Wyatt Bly noted that the gaps in the team “certainly affected the people”, precisely the “middle crew.  They work off of each other, and when several of them are missing it’s harder for them to hit their paces and work harder.”  Junior Oscar Yuan is one of these runners situated in the coveted middle crew, where the majority of the points are scored during a race, and missing him due to injury has been a big blow for the team

Head Coach Brian Stotts briefs the boy’s team before their race at the D’Evelyn Dash. (Patrick Doty)

Yuan’s offseason, like many others on the team, was his “busiest one so far.” He ran seven days a week unless he was on vacation.  


But only a few days into the season, Yuan’s season would be flipped on its head, as he had a bike crash while riding his bike around the neighborhood.  


“Nothing was broken, but lots of road rash and scrapes, which meant I couldn’t run for about a week and a half,” Yuan said.


Yuan ended up having to undergo surgery to repair some of the damage from his crash, which resulted in him missing 4 weeks of the season.  However, he seems to have made a full recovery and will be making a return to racing on October 1st.


As the wave of illness and injuries makes its way through the team, Stotts hopes that “we’re almost through the worst of that,” and that “we get our last piece of the puzzle back,” found in Oscar, very soon.


Wyatt Bly also notices the team’s health on the upswing, and is hoping the team can “bounce back for the end of the season.”


“The team is shaping up, they’re getting better, training hard.  We’re looking at our rivals, like Littleton, in our league, and hoping that we can rally to beat them.”


The team will race League on Thursday, October 13th.