FHS Boys Cross Country ends with another successful season

Fremont Boys Cross Country successfully ran their way into another State Championship for the 2021 season, but this team is no stranger to success. 

The end of the boys’ 2021 season also marks ten state wins for Fremont Boys Cross Country since 1980. They have also been runner-up nine times since 1989. 

The team’s coach Sean McMahon credits two players that were freshmen in 1999 for setting the standard for future players. 

“After three years of coaching kids that were talented, but were just a little hesitant to really buy into the team and take ownership in their training, I was fortunate to have two young athletes wanting to turn things around,” McMahon said. “Bryce Dickmeyer and David Ernesti met with me about what it would take to be State Champions by the time they were seniors. They accomplished that goal by winning in 2002, but along the way, they established many of the traditions and mindsets our team still utilizes today.”

McMahon shows true passion for his job and perceives his team as a family every season.

“We have always approached coaching with that type of family mindset and seeing the team grow and be successful over the years carries with it the ultimate sense of accomplishment and pride,” McMahon said. “We enjoy seeing the kids have success for so many reasons, and it is very humbling to think that we have been a part of that success.”

 McMahon was especially confident in his team this year.

“I would have to say that neither year did the guys lack confidence, but this year did have a special air about it,” McMahon said. “I always felt a sense of confidence and consistency in everything we did.”

Though confident, the team has had to overcome many challenges, including player injuries and state setbacks. Junior Domingo Perez was unable to run at the state meet after injuring his foot. Senior Aaron Ladd dealt with a minor hip issue that prevented him from feeling his best in the final two weeks. After the boys got third place in a major regional meet in Iowa, they were bumped down in both the state and regional rankings. 

“Sometimes that early-season setback can be a really good wake-up call, and it seemed to do just that for us this year,” McMahon said. “The obstacles our team overcame, however, were pretty remarkable and left me with a variety of emotions. Those occurrences pulled on the sympathy of everyone, but also rallied the team to be even stronger.”

Mcmahon also compliments his team’s experience going into the 2021 season. 

“The experience level of this year’s team was one of the highest I’ve ever been around,” Mcmahon said. “Even our incoming freshmen had a great background and general understanding of the sport, which enabled them to seamlessly adapt to everything we do. Our coaches rarely had to do more than remind them of certain key strategies and discuss with them what we saw out on the course, and that was enough to get them to reflect and make the necessary adjustments to continue improving.”

McMahon credits many players for their hard work and contributions to the team at state. 

“Watching Carter [Waters] hold on to his fourth spot, as well as Nolan [Miller], Juan [Gonzalez] and Junior [Garcia] mounting a huge second-half charge to ultimately push the score in our favor and seeing Aaron battle for our fifth and final scoring position were all incredibly rewarding,” McMahon said.

In a season overview, Mcmahon highlights some players and moments that convey the team’s skill level. 

“Seeing Wes Pleskac accelerate through the huge JV field at Augie and continue to pass people all the way through to getting second was a big highlight,” McMahon said. “Another major highlight was seeing our pack of seniors take Juan Gonzalez under their wing and really highlight his importance to the pack at Columbus. Possibly the biggest highlight though was seeing our guys around 3800 meters at State. When I last saw them around 2400m, Millard West had a big lead and had at least five guys in the top 15. When I saw them with 1200m to go, Carter was in fifth, closely followed by Braden [Taylor] and then Juan and Nolan were screaming up close to the top 15. I then saw Junior Garcia not far behind and knew he had moved up about 20 spots, and it was then that I realized I hadn’t seen Millard West matching our move and we were taking over the race. I saw a determination in our guys’ eyes that, as a coach, leaves you with pure excitement.”

The team will be losing some important players going into the 2022 season, but the upperclassmen have had a strong influence on the underclassmen. 

“Mrs. McMahon said it well the other day when she said that when a large class of boys stays together for four years that they really become a part of your family, and it is really difficult to see them go. From an overall perspective though, they have prepared our underclassmen well,” Mcmahon said. “Losing guys to graduation is one of the difficult constants of the job. Losing great leaders and guys who have so fully invested in the program though is even harder. 

Though the team is losing some influential seniors, McMahon always looks forward to another successful season. 

“We always look forward to the next season, the next chapter in Fremont Cross Country history and look forward to working with the guys who have the opportunity to write it,” McMahon said.