John Enders spent 12 years teaching York Suburban Middle School students about running and preparing them for the next stage of their careers — high school cross country.
This fall, Enders will again be working with runners, but he'll be doing it at the high school level.
Enders is York Suburban High School's new girls' cross country coach.
"(York Suburban boys' cross country coach Ron Herman) called and mentioned that the (middle school) job was open," Enders said about first getting involved in the Suburban program. "An hour later, I decided to do it."
Illustrious history: Enders, who succeeds Dan VanHouwe, takes over a program with an illustrious history.
The Trojans have won nine York-Adams Division II championships in a row. The program has also won 17 Y-A division titles in the last 19 seasons. During that time, Suburban also won four District 3 2-A girls' crowns, with the last coming in 2014. Suburban finished second in the district a year ago.
"I knew that the program has a long tradition of winning," Enders said during York-Adams Fall Sports Media Day. "Cross country is a tough sport, and the girls know what it takes to win."
Competitive difference: Enders said the biggest difference between middle school and high school cross country is the level of competitiveness.
"In middle school, you learn to run and learn to love it," he said.
Enders is confident that the York Suburban girls will be ready to go when the 2018 season opens on Thursday, Sept. 6.
"The girls know what they have to do in the summer to be race ready by September," he said.
"Family atmosphere:" Three of the runners, Emma Trout, Bryn Walsh and Ava Miller, accompanied Enders to Fall Sports Media Day.
Trout and Walsh are seniors and Miller is a junior.
"There's a family atmosphere with cross country," Trout said. "My dad ran cross country in high school, and I started running in middle school. I earned a district medal as a junior (finishing 12th), and I'm aiming for a top-10 finish in districts this year."
Walsh also continued a family tradition when she began running in eighth grade.
"My mom ran and that got me into it," she said. "My teammates are all close friends and we hang out before and after practice."
Miller enjoys the team aspect of the sport.
"My teammates are good friends and they keep me in it. They have a certain expectation and we all try to live up to it," she said.
Trout, Walsh, Miller and the other Trojans will focus first on the York-Adams regular season. After that, they'll set their sights on the big three meets — York-Adams, District 3 and PIAA.
The final meet takes place at the extremely challenging Parkview course in Hershey.
"You need to show patience on that course," Walsh said. "If you go out too fast, you're going to be in trouble."
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.