Boys Varsity Cross Country, Girls Varsity Cross Country · Cross Country Team Travels to Indiana Dunes


The fall sports season has begun, and University High School’s cross country team kicked off their season with the annual trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park from August 2-4, 2016.

The Dunes trip provides not only a chance for the team to bond in the first week of the season, but also challenging terrain for the runners. The sand and the hills make for tough workouts, but it’s a great way for the team to get into shape quickly.

The very first workout on Tuesday was a flat six-mile run, with about 2.5 of those miles running along the shore of Lake Michigan.

The team ran twice on Wednesday, first on the challenging Trail 9 (including a picturesque stop at Beach House Blowout) and then up Mt. Tom and along Trail 4.

On Thursday, the team ran along Trail 2 and over the rehabilitated boardwalk.

In between runs, the team spent time on the beach playing games and visiting local Valparaiso attractions like Zao Island, which had laser tag, batting cages, arcade games, and more.

Season Preview

The boys cross country team returns its top runner this season, senior Grant Syrek, who ran a 16:48 at Regionals in 2016. Varsity runners Neil Pettinga (10) and Ben Westerkamm (10) also return. The boys team also has several promising freshmen this year. Noah Laramore, Jacob Sager, and Cordell Wilson have impressed the coaching staff so far and look to be three of the top varsity runners. The team also looks for leadership from Max Ammerman (12) and Xavier Lance (12), who will also be in the contention for varsity spots.

On the girls squad, University High School has several returning varsity runners. Audrey Geipel (12), Michaela McKasson (12), Lydia Copeland (10), and Lauren Flickner (10) will run varsity again this year. Freshman Jada Swearingen looks to be the team’s top runner this year and has potential to break the girls’ school record very early in the season. Lucia Ponader (10) and Robin Karwath (9) also have immense potential on the team but are new to competitive running.

The cross country team’s first meet of the season is the Zionsville Invitational on Saturday, August 20 at Graham Martin Park in Indianapolis.