LBHS cross-country team goes to Utah for summer training

Written by Alex Bonnin, LBHS senior

It would be an absurd exaggeration to refer to Grover, Utah, as a “town”. Nestled on the west side of Capitol Reef National Park with nothing around but desert, “nowhere” would be a more suitable label, or perhaps “the middle of nowhere.” Grover has no store, no school, and certainly no digital connection to the outside world. 

Nowhere could the Laguna Beach High School cross country team be more out of place, and nowhere would the fifteen teenage boys have more fun.

Coach Scott Wittkop drove the team via van all across California and Nevada to little Grover, with a few days’ rest in Zion National Park. Finally reaching their destination, they lodged on the family ranch of varsity runner Cal Nielsen. With cows and alfalfa fields surrounding the house, and the vast Utah wilderness stretching into the horizon, the boys ran, ate, slept, played volleyball, ran, hiked, played ping pong and pool, laughed, and ran. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Witttkop

LBHS Cross Country Travel Team training this summer in Utah

L-R: Front. Tanner Burton, Colin Johnson, Jaden Orr, Alex Bonnin, Oliver Russell, Zach Falkowski

Back: Sebastian Fisher, Luc la Montagne, Matt Ghere, Tim Loughlin, Zack Bonnin, Dylan Miller, Massimo Lucidi, JC Farley

With two new coaches on staff and an abundance of talent, the team has high expectations for the season in terms of competition. Runs ranged from five to ten miles every day, and the seven-thousand-foot elevation and frequent rainstorms added extra challenges. The trip’s main goal, however, was to bring the boys closer together as a team, and through bonding experiences like paintball, white water rafting, and “mafia” (a game), results could not have been better.

“Utah was an incredible trip. Breathtaking mountainous scenery, fun hikes, and intense volleyball tournaments all with a team that I could call family,” said senior runner Jack Conor Farley. Through the terrific and the terrible (the running), the team united and looks forward to a champion season.