SYRACUSE – A cross country course will present itself with several obstacles and pitfalls. Adam Doll has already spent now four summers preparing for the rough ride.
Heading into his senior year, the Wawasee boys cross country distance star knows the road will be rough, literally, to get to where he wants to go. A trip to Terre Haute, which would be his only shot at a state run, has Doll motivated and ready to race. But a team title has already been lost earlier this month.
“There is no trophy for me, Joey was a beast and won that thing all four years,” Doll stated of senior teammate Joey Bornman, who won the milk drinking contest four years running at the cross country summer camp at Pokagon State Park. “There isn’t actually a trophy, but Joey should get it. I did alright, I think I got five cups down.”
The object of the team-building contest is to drink a Solo cup of chocolate milk in under a minute, then run 200 yards on a limestone trail. Then repeat until the figurative Oreos are tossed. While its not really a huge part of the actual running of the cross country season, the team bonding around the camp and the event itself is often highly anticipated and helps build team unity and character.
“That really is a fun time for all of us,” Doll said, weaving in graphic details of the carnage, including a rather sour description of the tattered course. “It’s a fun way to start the season.”
While Doll had fun laying out the details of the camp activities, his fall season is carefully diagrammed. After a very successful track season as a junior, in which Doll qualified for the Kokomo Regional in the 3,200-meter run, the 5,000-meter course is his next quest to conquer.
The lingering memories of his junior cross season, which had Doll and his teammates run well at the Elkhart Central Sectional only for Doll to run into a very tough go at the regional, failing to qualify for the semi-state. Doll, who ran with a stress fracture in the postseason last year, is determined to make up for what he left on the Ox Bow course last October.
“I really do want to get to state this year, no doubt,” Doll said. “Ideally, I would make it with my team, but if I can get there any way, I’ll take it. Right now, I think I have low 16′s (minutes) in me but I would like to get into the 15′s.”
Part of the gig in being a senior is also being a team leader, one thing in which Doll is ready to take on.
“I know everyone on the team, so that helps me be a better leader,” Doll stated. “It’s a lot easier to talk to a guy if I know him, know where he is coming from. I’m not a super vocal guy, but it does help to be louder, to help my teammates work on things that need to be worked on. But yelling and screaming isn’t my personality.”
While Doll is not the in-your-face type, he did offer a bit of insight on what types of punishments a cross country runner faces.
“Usually we get barked at,” Doll said of the coaching staff, this fall led by first-year head coach Doug Slabaugh. “He doesn’t do a lot of it, but he will do it. It’s funny, people ask me about running as punishment, and we do have to run extra sometimes. But it’s more about holding ourselves to higher standards. We dish our own punishments. We keep each other in check. We don’t really have physical punishment because we already run enough the way it is.”
Doll and his Wawasee cross country teammates will open the season next Tuesday when it travels to Stauffer Park in Nappanee to run against NorthWood, Fairfield and Bremen. First gun is 5 p.m.