Leesville Cross Country Class of 2023


The Leesville Road High School cross country team is an accomplished team with a hard work ethic and passion for running. The six senior boys are a very important part of the cross-country team. 

Benton Henry

Benton Henry is leading the chase pack during the 800m. He ended his race in 2:19 in 7th place. (Photo permission by Benton Henry)

Benton Henry started cross country his freshman year when he ran a season-best of 20:36 in the 5k. Three years later, Henry ran a time of 17:49 for the 5k.

 “I run because I like to feel capable. Running gives immediate feedback as to how healthy I am in the rest of my life. Having a good workout or race means more to me than just the time. It’s a cumulative success throughout the rest of my life as well. It means I was successful in getting my homework done, drinking water, eating well, and getting a good night’s sleep,” said Henry.

Benton is an incredibly fun and hardworking person. He is a great runner and academic student. He excels in both areas and more,” said Luke Lesher, a teammate. 

Johnny Pohlman

Johnny Pohlman coming down the chute at the Rolesville Rise and Rams race. Pohlman finished in a time of 12:46. (photo permission by Johnny Pohlman)

Johnny Pohlman started cross country his junior year running times of 23:00. Pohlman decided to come back his senior year and is now running times of 19:39.

“I love running because I love the family that comes with it. Through this sport, I’ve learned so much about myself and so much about how to be a team player. I’ve made so many bonds by just running that it’s truly incredible. At first, I was hesitant since it’s all running, but after time and with friends, cross country and track have become my favorite sports,¨ said Pohlman. 

“Johnny is an amazing person. Not only does he work hard and is dedicated to the task at hand, but he also encourages us to keep pushing and always get the team engaged,” said Sam Brown, a fellow teammate. 

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis coming down the chute during the Rolesville Rams Rise and Run. He finished in a time of 12:21 (Photo permission by Andrew Davis)

Andrew Davis started running for Leesville his freshman year. During his freshman season, he ran a time of 21:17, three years later he now runs an 18:09.

 “I love running because of the team. The teamwork and the comradery that this team has is really amazing. At first, I wasn’t much of an outgoing person but after being on the cross country team I feel much more confident in going out and doing things. The competition afforded by the team is another big reason why I love XC so much” said Davis.

“Andrew is an awesome person to be around. He is not only an excellent runner but also a stellar student in the classroom. He is a great example of an exceptional student-athlete,” said Ken Ishii, a teammate, and a junior at Leesville. 

Bo Groff

Bo Groff running the 1600m at Cardinal Gibbons. Groff ran a time of 4:40. (Photo Permission by Bo Groff)

During Bo’s freshman year he ran a time of 18:02. Now, 3 years later he runs a time of 16:37 in the 5k.

 “I run to stay active and spend time with friends/teammates, I also like to have a constant in my life so no matter how my school day was or what mood I am in, I can count on pushing myself to my limits in a workout. Running makes my days better because of the positive impact it has on my fitness and because of the positive atmosphere, the sport creates. All my teammates are great friends who all push each other,” said Groff. 

“Bo is the brightest person and has an even brighter future ahead of him. Furthermore, he is an excellent runner and team captain,” said Luke Lesher, a fellow teammate. 

Matt Mercer

Matt Mercer running up the hill at WakeMed. He finished his race with the time of 17:26. (Photo permission by Matt Mercer)

Matt Mercer started running cross country his freshman year. He ran a time of 21:14. Now, Mecer runs a time of 17:16.

“I run because I love the community that surrounds it. The people on the team are all super friendly and supportive and they help build and support me to get better. Regardless of if I’m going through a great time or a rough time, they’re always there to help me be better than I was yesterday. Running also gives me something I can rely on every day. No matter what happens during the day, I always have practice to look forward to. These people are my family, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” said Mercer.

“Mercer is a great teammate and plays a key role for our team. He is also a great leader and someone that is always motivating others,” said Andre Michaels, a runner on the team.

Luke Poole

Luke pool started running cross country his junior year and decided to continue his senior year. During his junior year, he ran a 25:29 at the start of the season, and by the end of the season, he ran a PR of 21:56.

“I run because it gives me a place to think. Running helps me clear my head and relieve stress. Also, it makes my body feel great, and it allows me to stay in good health,” said Poole.

“Luke has a great personality and has also been a key member of our team. He is always very kind and friendly to all of our teammates and encourages others during runs and workouts,” said Ken Ishii, a teammate and training partner. 

The senior boys have worked very hard to become who they are now as people and runners. They are very dedicated hard-working people to not only their sport and team but also school.


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