Senior leadership and support define cross country season

Team spirit: Kate McAleer (center) takes time to build team camaraderie. For many runners, team building is what defined the cross country season.

By Macie Zimmerman

The Bettendorf High School girls cross country team ended their regular season at the MAC meet. For many seniors, this meant the end of their running career at BHS.

This season, the senior team captains, Kate McAleer, Ellie Hinch, Izzy Appel, and Hannah Beintema, valued supportive personal connections and set high goals and expectations for themselves and their teammates.

Unlike other years, the Bulldogs will be graduating an astonishing number of seniors.

“This season was strange because over half our team was seniors, so it was very lead by seniority and I think it will be a lot different next year but it was really fun to have your last year with all the same people you have traveled up the past seasons with,” said Appel.

The end of the regular season is bittersweet for Appel because she joined cross country her sophomore year not knowing she would meet some of her best friends. Additionally, Appel and the 22 other seniors never imagined how influential they would be to their senior season dynamic.

Co- captain, Kate McAleer, also recently finished her third and final season of girls cross country. McAleer reflected on her time with the girls cross country team as one she anticipated on a daily basis.

“I am sad this season is over because cross country was something I looked forward to at the end of the school day,” said McAleer.

For the past three years, McAleer enjoyed being a leader of the team, along with being able to meet and run with new people.

Fellow senior Hannah Beintema has always brought a positive energy to the team. Having a leadership role only amplified her support and positive spirit.

“As seniors, some of us have had to take on leadership roles, which has been great since we were now the ones helping the underclassmen,” Beintema said.

Throughout her high school career, Beintema has faced many adversities as a vital part of the varsity team.

“This season has definitely been my hardest season so far, especially mentally. I’ve had to work a lot harder to keep a strong mental game, and my times have been consistently slower than last season, which has forced me to learn patience, discipline, and perseverance,” said Beintema.

Although this season has been the toughest for her, both mentally and physically, Beintema has not stopped making a positive impact on her teammates' lives.

Beintema placed 14 at the district meet and will compete as an individual at the state meet at the end of October. Running at the state meet will give her extra time to hopefully complete the goals she set for herself at the beginning of the season.

“So far, I have not accomplished a majority of the goals I set this year; however I believe I can get there in the future,” Beintema said.


Macie Zimmerman is a senior. This is her first year

as a staff writer for The Growl.


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