LHS Cross Country Takes the Challenge

The high school cross country team gets a new coach

Emma Hyde

Sophomore Tyler Scanlan runs to the finish line.

Every team needs a leader to support and challenge it. Although the cross country team is great by itself, it needs an experienced coach to make it better. Mal Balow coached for high school and middle school teams for twenty four years and retired last season, leaving the team, they are in need of a new mentor.

Teacher Shawn Baynes took the opportunity to take over the new coaching position as
soon as former coach Balow retired. Baynes previously coached in Lansing for nine years and then at Laingsburg Middle School for three years.

“The difference between high school
and middle school cross country is you can push high schoolers a little bit more and the expectation is higher,” Baynes said. “The biggest difference-we do more miles.”

Baynes had to make many adjustments this year, but he is not the only one.

“I would say the main difference this season is that Mr. Baynes conditions with us. Everything we do, he does it right with us,” sophomore Hayleigh Mertens said.

Despite their differences, both coaches love their team and cheer them on.

“Mr. Balow and Mr. Baynes both want our team to do well, they want all of us to try our hardest, and they’re always proud of us,” Mertens said.
At the beginning of the season, Baynes asked each student athlete to make a goal for the upcoming season.

“My goal is really just to become a better leader on the team,” sophomore Dawson Shastal said.

Baynes has goals of his own, such as taking his team to the state tournament this year.

“I think the girls are really good,” Baynes said. “They are probably close to the top three in our region, and our region is really hard. The top three make it out to the state tournament and I think we can get there.”

Baynes is very confident in his team this season, and is brainstorming different ways to improve it.

“I think it’s great having a new coach. I like how Mr. Baynes can motivate us a little bit differently too,” Mertens said.