Making Strides

By Tyler Parker

     Running cross country is no easy task. It takes hours of conditioning, endurance, and lots and lots of patience. Almost every day for the past three weeks, kids, both big and small, have run a plethora of 5ks and worked through dozens of exercises trying to shave minutes, even seconds, off their PR (Personal Record). From 4th to 11th graders, every runner has worked incredibly hard and accomplished much.

 

Monday, August 21st, marked the first meet of the season and a spectacular first race for the whole team. Eighth grader Taylor Anthony, eleventh grader Josh Furlough, and twelfth grader Lachlan James placed second, third, and fourth respectively in the boys division; ninth graders Zoey DeSpain and Elly Crabtree placed fourth and fifth respectively in the girls division. The atmosphere was friendly and exciting with dozens of parents cheering their children on through the course.

 

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As much fun as the meets can be, they are also very exhausting. “Meets are exhausting to the point to where the moment you finish running you want to curl up and go to sleep and your muscles are so sore and you are so worn out you can barely even walk,” tenth grader Lucas Wood said.  

 

With the harsh sun beating down on you, it’s often easier to think about other things so that you don’t focus so much on the heat. “When I run I think about music and sing it in my head,” Elly Crabtree said.  

 

A normal day of cross country either consists of military-style workouts, running, or both. From 5ks and group runs to jump squats and dive-bomber pushups, coach Darrell Ange’s workouts are known for pushing people to their limits, but his encouraging demeanor makes the runners want to work even harder.  “Sometimes when we’re running, he’ll tell us that he knows we can do it, or to ‘just keep running’,” ninth grader Colin Kruse said.

 

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“I am extremely encouraged by the team this year. Not only do I believe that they are working much better as a cohesive unit, but I am also encouraged by how much growth has occurred in each athlete over the past year. I am also excited that there are so many new Cross Country runners this year. My favorite part of coaching is seeing a student-athlete improve their personal best and helping them reach their full potential. Being a part of that process is both an honor and a privilege as a coach,” coach Darrell Ange said.

 

Even though at times it may seem impossible, the combination of encouragement from teammates and the thrill of crossing the finish line keeps runners going. Whether you have a passion for running, or you just want to stay in shape, cross country is truly an amazing experience.