The Girls Varsity FHE cross country team remains undefeated this fall season. The Boys Varsity team, while not undefeated, has been on the podium for a majority of their races. Through dedicated training and outstanding performances at meets, this year’s lineup of athletes has more than earned their shot at states. Currently, the Girls are ranked second in the statewide D2 bracket. While these stats are impressive, the secret to their success is simpler than one might think, it lies in the tight-knit relationships of the group. The team participates in frequent team dinners, attends a yearly summer camp, and hangs out before daily practices. “At camp, the boys all sat at a table and were a family.” Naomi Peterson (‘22) shared, “at a team dinner they did the same thing, and the family was back together.” Many of the athletes that were interviewed emphasized the importance of connections. Running isn’t just a sport about numbers, but a place that feels like home.
Elijah Peterson (‘24) said that Coach Daniel McElheny pushes the team to run in pairs. “Synergy, Mac calls it. Basically, if one person goes, you go with them”. It helps the athletes keep pace while motivating each other to get a new personal record. Many people have stated that the thing that kept them invested in the team was the strong feeling of community.
A race-based term, PR (personal record) is an extremely important aspect of cross country. Cross country is about running long distances faster than the other competitors. Getting faster takes endurance which is built up through consistent practice. The team practices every day after school, but what about when the season is over? To grow as a runner, some members of the team continue running all year round. With track and field and winter training, many cross country members are able to keep in shape and improve upon their skill set during the off-season. It’s extremely important to keep running if you want to see improvement. The moment that the running stops, so does the drive to start again.
Images courtesy of Alyssa McElheny.