Cross country team spirit runs deep

Cross country team spirit runs deep

by Erin BoneStaff Writer

I have run cross country since I was in the seventh grade. It was the first year my school had cross country for that age, and to be perfectly honest, it was more of a joke then a true program.

In the beginning, the main appeal of the sport was that it was different. Only the unique ran such a long distance for fun, and I always prided myself on being different. As time went on and I discovered how uncoordinated I truly was, cross country and I became an even better fit.

In high school, my team dominated the sport. Trips to state became expected and the tradition continues with this being the 10th straight year my school has sent both the boys and girls’ teams.

When you run for a school that demands this type of success, you begin to crave it as well. Running and all that comes with it seems to become a part of who you are, and it becomes more and more difficult to differentiate between the two.

This is one reason why cross country attracts a certain type of person. Cross country meets do not attract crowds of people, nor do students make t-shirts just for a big race. When you are on the course you are running for yourself, but more importantly, you are running for your team.

Your team is comprised of people who are willing to and strong enough to pick you up and carry you to the finish when you cannot cross alone. No matter your level, your role on the team or even your ability, your team will come through for you.

Last season ended beautifully. We had a conference champ, a fifth place team in a dominant conference and a team that had become inseparable. With all of the recruiting we had done, our team was not only going to be bigger, we were going to be better. My last season was sure to be my best and most memorable.

Unfortunately, toward the end of pre-season I got really sick and was forced to go home for the first two weeks of school. When I finally returned, my immune system was wounded, my stress level was beyond elevated and my base training was basically nonexistent. In a matter of weeks I went from an athlete battling for a varsity spot to an athlete battling to finish the race.

In a situation like this, the most obvious thing to do would be to quit. I mean, I was running an average four minutes slower per race then the year before. Wow, that’s slow.

But to quit a sport like cross country is near impossible. Running becomes a part of who you are, as does the team.

As disheartening as it was to almost get last in every single race of the season, to not be a part of the team would be even more devastating. My team was the sole reason I was able to finish my senior season of cross country. They did the little things that are always the most important like genuinely cheer for me and respect my decisions even though they were much better then me.

With their encouragement and support my team helped me cross the finish line when to do so alone seemed impossible. So thank you, and good luck at Regionals. Rock Central’s face off!