May the Course Be With You: Cross Country


Jordan Perry, Reporter

On Thursday, October 16th 2014, the cross country team ventured to Pueblo to compete in Regionals where the girls’ varsity team made it to State. The girls’ team consisted of Lexi Harrison, Kelsie Bragg, Sandra Dillinger, Alana Dillinger, Erin Babinski, Danielle Curtis, Joanna Waddell, and Zoe Austin as an alternate. They did a fantastic job by placing third at regionals which then led them to state.

Assistant coach, Matt Levassiur shared how proud he was of the cross country team. When asked his level of pride on a scale from one to ten of his team, he stated, “I’m about a nine or a ten as far as being proud of the team, because our girls’ team has four freshmen on varsity and all of our girls have improved this year. Our boys’ team has had a couple of sophomores move into the top five and they have all improved as well. It has been very encouraging to see that improvement.” In a reflection from before State, Levassiur also commented on how he anticipated he would feel going to State. He revealed, “It would be a culmination of a lot of hard work that we have put in for the year. Coach Payton is retiring after this year so it would be a great way to send him off.”

Coach Payton is the head coach of the track team. He has been at Woodland Park for fifteenyears mentoring teenagers in their cross country experience. His honest coaching tactics have led the team to State seven times over the last nine years. He is the team’s number one supporter and loves the teens as if they were his own. Lexi Harrison, senior, shared on what she likes about Payton saying, “One of the good things about Coach Payton is that coming into the beginning of the season freshman year, he has the expectation that we are a family and his expectation kind of rubs off on the whole team. He really makes us family-oriented.” Joanna Waddell also shared, “We want to celebrate with him and remember all the great memories we’ve had with him.” After Payton retires this year, Coach Levassiur will take over as head coach.

This past Saturday, October 25th 2014, the cross country team went to state. It was a hot and miserable day full of sweat and hydration. Some girls passed out from running in the heat. Luckily, our girls’ varsity team was hydrated and ready to go. They placed 22nd out of 24th at State as a team. Individual runners, such as Erin Babinski, placed in the top 150 percent in her competition. Way to go Woodland Park Cross Country! What a great way to send Coach Payton off with placing in State and a little Panther Pride in his heart and memories.