2017-09-09 / Sports

Local Runner Gabe Kromer Starts Island Cross Country Team

By Jacob A. Ball


At left: The newly formed Mackinac Island cross country team includes three runners led by Coach Shane Paeth (from left): Gabe Kromer, Gabe Hepker, and Dominic Morse (not pictured). At left: The newly formed Mackinac Island cross country team includes three runners led by Coach Shane Paeth (from left): Gabe Kromer, Gabe Hepker, and Dominic Morse (not pictured). This summer, Mackinac Island Public School senior Gabe Kromer attended a school board meeting to campaign for the introduction of a cross country team at the school. A member of the Island’s track and soccer teams, he said he had been interested in the sport for several years but didn’t consider proposing a team until he started drawing interest from college cross country teams. Now Gabe Hepker and Dominic Morse join Kromer to form the first Mackinac Island Public School cross country team in decades.

Finding a coach was a significant hurdle that had to be overcome before the boys could enter competitions. Shane Paeth, the new manager at Mackinac Island Airport, who was a runner in high school has filled this role, and is eager to help the new squad find success this season. Coach Paeth was originally interested in helping with coaching duties for the Island’s track and field team next spring, and he was encouraged to lead the cross-country team, as well. So far, he said he has been amazed by the endurance and commitment of his runners. His goals for the season are to make it to all competitions, and make the season a good experience for the three runners.

“I hope they learn about the enjoyment of running and competing, and show the other students that it’s something worthwhile,” Coach Paeth said.

Finding ways to make practices more fun is something the coach would like to incorporate, as he gets more comfortable in the position. He said that he would incorporate different types of running drills other than the typical timed runs, including perhaps a circuit where the last runner in a line must sprint to the front.

All of the runners are very well conditioned already; Hepker and Kromer ran track in the spring, and all three are currently members of the soccer team. Coach Paeth hopes the small team size will make for a very close-knit team atmosphere where they all root each other on, and help one another throughout the season.

The cross country team has seven meets scheduled for this season, followed by the Upper Peninsula state cross country meet in Munising Saturday, October 21.

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