BY: Ashley Sedyne
What does it take to be a good cross country runner?
It takes stamina, heart, dedication, and drive. These are the qualitieties that the Cumberland County Dukes cross country teams possess. This can very easily be seen in the Dukes national ranking. The boys and girls team is currently ranked ninth nationally. The team is a division three school in region six of county colleges.
They show their stamina and endurance in the lengths they run in each meet, a feat many should be proud to accomplish. They show heart, dedication, and drive on the track and in the classroom, at least that is one thing Coach Marketto has made sure of this season.
Coach Marketto says his runners not only “attend daily practice, but they also participate in a weekly study group.”
Coach Marketto stresses heart in all aspects from his runners, and he seems to be accomplishing this with his runners. He wants the runners to be successful not only on the track, but in the class room, and later on out in the real world.
The boys cross country team is a very young team. It only has two remaining runners from last year. Marketto says he is lucky because” he found excellent team leaders in both Josh Smith and John Burkhart.”
Even though Marketto says this is a reloading year, he believes that he has a very talented team “we could win a championship. The talent is there. We just need the experience.”
The runners may be young but under the leadership of Coach Marketto, it won’t be long before they are winning champion ships. Coach Marketto is a very experienced cross country runner and coach. He was voted most valuable runner at Rowan Unversity in 1965. Since achieving that award, Coach Marketto has continued on to many coaching jobs including both high schools and colleges.
Another thing Coach Marketto and both the team captains Smith and Burkhart stress is team unity. Smith and Burkhart both agree that the team this year is “ a close knit group, like a tight sweater.” They believe the team is different from last year and have the potential to win, because “there aren’t any waves.”
In the meets the boys have run they have run away with two third place trophies and one second place trophy. The girls on the other
hand have a full team, which is the first time this has happened since the sport was instituted by Coach
Marketto in 2002.
Marketto says that “women have made significant progress. It’s the first time we’ve fielded a full team. These runners will definitely experience success down the road.”
These two teams seem to be faring pretty well against the competition they have faced so far, and are uncertain that they will continue to remain successful as a team on the track, in the class room, and in all other aspects of life.