There are several large families in Pella, but none of them come close to the 106 members of the Pella High cross country family. It may sound absurd, but that is exactly how they view themselves, and it is that sense of belonging that seems to have the Dutch in the midst of a cross country dynasty.
Assistant coach Robin Hammann says it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what creates the sense of “family” within the team, but she says the combination of several aspects make for a very special experience.
“We do authentically care about each other, and I think we – as coaches – care for our athletes, and we try to model that to each and every one of our athletes; no matter where they are in their running performance or the goals they’ve set for themselves,” says Hammann.
“They may not be a State Champion athlete, but they can always keep raising the bar for themselves. This ‘family’ feel that we have, the students foster it with each other, and I think we [coaches] help with that. I don’t know how it happens, but it’s just there.”
The Pella High cross country teams will look for some new family members to continue the tradition of success next season, as key seniors like Hanna Martin and Zach Buchheit will graduate this spring.