On a beautiful August morning recently St. Johns Magazine stopped by the Creekside High school track to talk to the number one boys cross country team in Florida! The team has been State Champions for two years in a row, an amazing accomplishment.
Every morning the team gets up to practice at 6:15am before school starts. They work hard but that is only one aspect of how they have achieved champion status. When it comes to winning, the boys said their team is like a family. At the center of this sense of cohesion is Coach Eric Frank, who keeps them on target, with inspiring speeches and an attitude of connection. Seniors and varsity team members Nick Marescot and Ethan Hammett spoke highly of Coach Frank. “He is the most dedicated coach I have ever known”, they said. One of Coach Frank's mottos is "R2R" or "ready to race" . It is written on their team t-shirt but also embedded in their minds, building a solid mental foundation for their future. He says it means, "each day at practice we are striving to be ready to meet the day, ready to race to our fullest potential." Coach Frank is a St. Johns native, having been a distance runner on the Nease team back in the day. He is entering his 10th year as the Cross Country coach at Creekside.
The team also creates camaraderie by attending events together including a yearly one-week running camp in Brevard, North Carolina.
After winning two consecutive State Championships the boys say winning this year is less of a goal and more of an expectation. Even though the team dynamics have changed with many of last year’s star seniors gone, they say maintaining their championship status is still attainable. Coach Frank agrees: "This year’s team has a lot of potential and its built on Trust, Relentless Effort, and brotherhood. I believe if you can get everyone on the team to buy into those three core values then the possibility of success are endless."