Is Cross Country More than Running?

Written by: Trinity Krouse, Reporter

The cross country athletes are not just focused on running. Instead, they care about teamwork, dedication and improvement. This year, the entire team is focused on friendships and bettering themselves.

“Without a doubt the most exciting part of coaching cross country is watching each athlete improve,” said head cross country coach Brock Peterson. “There are no shortcuts to success in running. But if you put in the work, you will get better. Another great part of coaching cross country is getting to know the athletes and coaches.”

Although cross country is an individual sport, the athletes spend lots of time together at practices, meets and even outside of the sport.

“My favorite part about cross country would be the friendships and memories I’ve made over the years,” said senior Katie Fulkerson. “The character amongst these athletes is truly different from that of any other sports team I’ve been on. cross country people are some of the best people.”

The sport takes more than just giving it your all at practices. The athletes have to take ice baths, and do supplemental workouts, as well as watch what they eat.

“People don’t know that there is more to cross country than just running,” said junior Brady Myers. “You have to watch what you eat and what you drink because it only gets harder if you don’t treat your body right.”

The athletes are not the only ones who are working hard. The coaches are always looking for ways to improve the athletes and make them stronger. Two years ago, Peterson became the head coach, and this year Keara Lenard joined the team as the assistant coach.

“They’ve always been able to work with their athletes and push them with a positive attitude. I’ve always liked how they take on coaching, they’re easy to talk to and easy to get along with. Both of our coaches are amazing coaches and people,” said junior Jake Ulreich.

As it gets closer to the end of October, it also gets closer to State. Last year, the girls team went to state after not qualifying by less than three points, the previous two years. The cross country team has some serious shoes to fill. Joe Ruffcorn, Calder Hollond, Emilie Crutchfield, Marina Pebley, Bailey Storms and Allison Mathews were all seniors that made it to state last year. Even with all those graduates, the team still feels like they have improved since last year.

“I think that in the past few years our girls teams have just been getting better and better, and this year has been no exception,” said Fulkerson. “Not only to we have a very strong and competitive varsity team, but we have some very talented athletes on the JV side too which is awesome.”

This year, the Kaw Valley League race and Regionals will be at Wyandotte County Park. Regionals for the team to qualify for state will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21.