Cross Country, the Team With Heart

Written by: Alyssa Tyler, Editor-in-Chief

 

 

A group of kids sits in assistant cross country coach Keara Lenards’ room. They sit on chairs and desks, laughter filling the air, while inside jokes float across the room. Senior Trey Galvan talks to junior Lily Bogard about his plan for absolutely destroying the school record, senior Adell Gore and junior Lexy Augustine sit and pose with the trophy from placing second at regionals the weekend before. No one in the room sits by themselves. Everyone is joking with someone. Nearly everyone in the room has gloves, ear warmers and hoodies pulled up to prepare for the recovery run in the snow, but there isn’t a single complaint.

Head coach Brock Peterson joins the team on their two-mile recovery run, Gore and Galvan jokingly run around with their knees in positions that they shouldn’t be and someone has started barking, like a dog,  at the other kids. But it makes everyone on the team smile. Everyone is happy and still, no one has complained about the weather.

The group runs in a pack. They run on the crumbling sidewalk, ponytails bob in the frigid air. Everyone talks to everyone as laughter fills the group. The conversations range from plans for State weekend, Galvan talking about his goal time for his last race and Peterson talks to the two freshman girls who are going on their first state trip, Alyiah Shirley and Anna McKnight. Peterson spends the first mile talking about the next season. Although he’ll miss the seniors, he’s excited to start expanding the program further and to keep it growing he says. But this team is something else; he admits, later on, bring ‘something else’ to each practice and to each meet.

The team brings the same passion to nearly every meet, with the team laughing in the back of the bus, while someone on the team blasts some minorly inappropriate music. Then to the meet where typically, every girl on the team, stands in a circle where Gore leads the prayer and chant. Galvan does the same for the boys’ team. Each team stands on the line, sometimes sweating from the heat and other times shivering from the cold, but all four teams stand there ready to put it all on the line, to run the fastest they can, for 3.1 miles.

While one team races, the other teams are encouraging. The other athletes go from point to point throughout the course to encourage the people racing at the parts they know hurt most. No matter how fast or slow they may be running, the rest of the team will cheer them on no matter what.

No matter how long it takes someone to finish the race, every single person has run the same 3.1 miles. The same hills, the same muddy puddles and the same feeling of pain and discomfort through every curve and turn.

This team has compassion, energy, life and most importantly heart. No matter if someone is on JV, varsity, runs a 30 minute 5K, or a 17 minute 5K. This team is there for each other through thick and thin. There is no judgment when it comes to how fast or how slow someone is, but on the type of person that they are. The people who have a strong character, a driven work ethic and a want to get better, are the ones who succeed in this sport, and somehow; this year the cross country program was able to get countless students who define those ideals.