- People know Stevens Point Area Senior High School for its cross country. The high school has one of the most successful programs in the entire state at any level. This year, they expect another good run.
Head coach of the team Donn Behnke has been the coach for the past 38 years.
During those 38 years Coach Behnke has coached 8 state championships
teams. He's led his team to a conference title all but one of those
years. He believes the program and the hardworking kids are the key to the
"Like the back of our jacket says, the tradition continues," said Evan Hatton, a senior on the team. "That's really what it's been a great tradition."
The cross country community is close in Stevens Point. The youngsters
look up to the guys who are on the varsity squad.
"When we were in 6th grade I saw them win a state championship," Derek Cruz said, a senior on the team. "When I saw that I said I want that to me that's what I want to do, I always looked up to them."
Cruz would end up doing that. The Panthers were state champions last year and it was even more than he imagined.
"Actually one of the coolest experiences of my life," Cruz said. "It was very, very awesome. All that we worked for all summer all year coming together."
Cruz and Hatton have been preparing to keep the tradition going for quite some time.
As seniors they have one another great opportunity to repeat.
"We've been teammates since 7th, ran so many miles together, works
towards it," Hatton said. "We're going for the state championship."
They'll face difficult obstacles before then, but Coach Behnke believes
this group will continue the tradition.