No, it’s not a remake of Frosty the Snowman, but the theme is similar. The Boardman High school cross country team found a little magic in the old throw back uniforms that were used from 2003 to 2010. They were worn again this year and the team posted its ninth consecutive Mahoning County Cross Country Championship. When BHS cross country coach John Phillips was asked if the students thought there was indeed magic in the old uniforms, he was quick to reply.
“You know, I think they did,” Phillips said. “We saw a picture of the 2003 team hanging in the fitness center and some of those guys went on to run in college, some of them coach track/cc now, others still run in road races and in the park on the weekends and they always say hi to our guys and ask them about the season and the team.”
The uniforms that the cross country team normally wears this season were purchased in 2010, Phillips said. Prior to that, the uniforms were track-styled tops with distance shorts. They are all cleaned and returned to the BHS athletic department at the end of the season. The following year, Phillips will get them back out, both the 2010 and the 2003 sets.
We will make it an annual tradition to wear our throwbacks once a year and we will wear them at practice every Thursday in what we call "Throwback Thursday." The guys seem to enjoy wearing the old school look and, at the same time, it pays tribute to our tradition as a school and CC program.
One area the coach said helps keep the Boardman program strong is the condition of the athletes. He said many train year-round by playing basketball or indoor track during the winter, outdoor track in the spring, and conditioning over the summer months. When August arrives, it is time to step it up.
“Once August hits, we practice seven days a week having two or three days dedicated to specific workouts relating to speed, pace, or endurance,” Phillips said. “When the season starts, we decrease the mileage and are limited to one workout a week since we run two meets per week through September.”
Cross country does take a lot of personal effort from the athlete. It requires a lot of self discipline and is somewhat different from other team sports.
“Cross country is unique because it is an individual sport with a team concept,” Phillips said. “If everyone does not give it 100 percent then the team suffers, so in a way it is like football. If the running back is not going hard he gets stopped short of the goal line or fumbles. In soccer, if the goalie is not focused he lets a soft goal go by. So we depend on everyone to be on their game each and every time we run if we want to achieve our teams goals.”
The coach did say that cross country becomes a lifelong sport. He said seven of this year’s 35 members are seniors. They work hard to encourage the underclassmen and often provide competition within the team. Phillips added that in cross country, a really good freshman could easily find himself on the varsity squad.
He said this year the team really came together. It was an unusual season in that the schedule was loaded at the end of September. The team had to take a day off just to rest between meets. Even with the grueling schedule, the guys came together for the county meet and made it nine in a row, with a little help from the spirit of the 2003 championship uniforms.
Photo special to the Town Crier
The 2011 Boardman High school cross country team sports some “old school” looks as they wear the 2003 uniforms. The throwback look was worn by the team that started a nine-year run of county champions. Pictured are, in front row: Colton Jenkins, Fletcher Dunham, Mike Moxley, Sam Sheronovich, Jacob Kelleck, Alan Burns, Mark Hadley, Justin Maroni, Jacob Whitford, Juan Santiago, Ryan Key, Rick Henneman, and Head Coach John Phillips. In back row are: Paul Stevens, Steve Brown, Matt Peyko, Jacob Noll, Evan Heintz, Andrew Cessna, Dan Liptak, Josh Botak, Carmen Marinucci, Matt Carubia, Nick Hura, Tom Hays, and Devin DiPiero.