By Jack Macias ’14
It was only 7 a.m. on Aug. 30, but it was already 93 degrees and the 2011 Brophy cross country team had already been running for an hour in the hottest recorded August in Arizona history, according to kpho.com.
But their coach said it is not just the group, it is the endurance that makes them good. “This is one of the best teams we’ve ever had, because the players run so close together,” said Mike Keahon ’73, current head coach and member of the Brophy Hall of Fame.
“(At state) I wasn’t happy about getting sixth place and neither were the kids,” Mr. Keahon said.
He and the rest of the coaching staff, including Mr. Andy Schmidbauer ’88 and Mr. Ted Skowron, have set high goals for this year’s cross country team.
“In the state of Arizona, we’re probably within the top five or 10,” Keahon said when asked about where the cross country team stands now.
Mr. Keahon mentioned Marco Ruiz ’13 and Brock Ghelfi ’12 as the top runners for the team, along with runners Jack Welty ’12, Tanner Brown ’12, Jack Rubenizer ’13 and Ben Sacks ’14.
“I just told myself to go out there and have fun,” Ruiz said when asked what his motivation was to step up and be a leader this year.
The more experienced Ghelfi takes a different approach to his leadership role.
“I’ve been running varsity for four years and I’ve seen what it takes to be a really good team and that’s what I use to help motivate the younger guys,” Ghelfi said.
Even though the cross country team lost key runners Will Firth ’11 and Tommy Williams ’11, the moral remains strong as younger runners step up.
“Last year we had more raw talent, but this year we have more of a team.” Ghelfi said.
After the departure of last year’s leaders, there was a need for leaders on this year’s cross country team, and both Ruiz and Ghelfi were up to the challenge.
“I wanted to step up and be a leader because I admired Will Firth and Tommy Williams,” Ruiz said. “Brock and I really are going to step up as leaders in the state race and in the big meets because were really the only ones that have run in those meets.”
Upcoming meets include:
Artichoke Invitational, Scottsdale CC (Sep. 17)
Oro Rojo Inv., Chandler (Sep. 24)