Wrapping up the Cross Country Season

Tailor+Cochran%2C+Maggie+Delaney%2C+and+Paige+Nelson+fight+for+the+best+time+in+their+time+trial.

Mary Bumgardner

Tailor Cochran, Maggie Delaney, and Paige Nelson fight for the best time in their time trial.

Brooklyn LaMie, Writer

Football, basketball, maybe baseball, a little bit of volleyball, and football again. These are the sports that the student body cares about: the ones that get the high-fives in the hallway and the rambunctious student section all hyped up to cheer on a win. 

Students love attending these sporting events, and do so zealously, but why? These aren’t necessarily the most accomplished sports teams in our school year after year. 

Cross country has been an underrated sport with a fierce desire to make their passion not only relevant but admirable to other students. They work hard to be successful, but also prove that theirs is a sport worth the press and popularity that any other is receiving. 

If this last season didn’t do that for them, what will? It has been a season where both boys and girls teams broke school records and made valiant runs at state. The girls team ultimately placed 5th, which is a huge improvement from their 12th place finish last year. The boys placed 4th in state this year. The boys also placed 5th at Twilight, a big meet with more than a hundred teams from all over the country. Vincent Loftis (11) placed first in leagues, and Aiden Emerson (10) won districts. Both the boys and girls teams placed first in both Districts and Leagues. This was a season of breaking boundaries and setting new limits for the cross country program.

Following a pretty good season last year and not a lot of talent leaving the program, cross country knew they were going to be good before the season even began. “We started the season knowing that we probably had the best teams, boys and girls, in school history, based on what they had shown in the past and what they did this summer. They put in more summer training as a whole team than any other team we’ve ever had in the past. And so them coming in knowing that they could be the best teams in school history was kind of a cool expectation they had for themselves. But they rose to the expectation and at the end of the season they were arguably the best teams in school history- top to bottom,” Mr. Murray, the varsity boys coach, said. Murray had the opportunity to work with both girls and boys teams over the season, and was pleased with their successes this season. He believed that there was nothing that that group of kids couldn’t accomplish.

All things worked together over this last year to make the last cross country season amazing, from the runners to the coaches to the new additions to the team. The coaches worked well together and were a large part of the success of the team. Aiden Emerson, a sophomore on the varsity team, was having IT band problems at the beginning of the season. “The coaches wrote me up a plan that would make it so I wouldn’t lose a lot of fitness from not running and they really kept me motivated so I stayed positive through the injury and was healthy for the most important time in the season,” Emerson said. 

Another unique thing about this season was the overall atmosphere. The team was the “kindest and most-hardworking” group that Mr. Murray had ever seen. Mr. Murray’s favorite thing about this group of kids was the kids who weren’t on varsity working to inspire and cheer on their teammates as well as those varsity leaders. Destinee Williams was one of those inspirational leaders by coming out and working hard every day to become a runner for the first time her senior year. She cut a huge amount of time from the start of the season to the end, and proved that anyone is capable of coming out and becoming a runner if they work hard enough.

Everyone recognizes that leadership is an important factor to a great team, and everyone in the cross-country program gives credit to the senior girls for their fantastic leadership on the team. “The senior girls are such a strong presence on the team. Even the boys look up to the senior girls because everyone is just so positive and fun to be around,” Kate Rosson, the only junior on the state team, said,  “At the beginning of the season I didn’t think I would succeed, but running with them and their consistency and hard-work just makes you want to do well when you see someone else doing so well.”

The seniors themselves are pleased with the legacy they’ve left for the team, and the example they’ve set. “Most of the talent is in the younger grades, and we’ve shown them you can drop so much time if you work hard,” Paige Nelson, Senior, said. 

This season was amazing, with records being broken and exciting state competitions, but one of the most amazing things about a great season is the hope it leaves for the future. The boys team this year was so young, having only two seniors leaving. They’re “dreaming really big, and they are capable,” Mr. Murray said. Next year, they could be state champs, or accomplish anything else they decide to. They have that much talent carrying over into next season.

On the other hand, the members of the girls’ state team are all heading off to college, with Kate Rosson being the only one left behind. Rosson dreams of running at at least Division 2 school, and she believes that with her times (a PR of 20:09) she can get there. Her goal for next season is to beat Anne Fernandez’ PR of 19:10. 

Rosson was devastated after the season, because she knew she would never again get to run with the girls she developed such a strong bond with. When asked about next season, Rosson said, “I’m definitely very nervous for the underclassmen to come up because I know I definitely wasn’t very mature when I was a sophomore or freshman and I didn’t take running very seriously, but I’m excited for them to dream big and reach their goals because I’ve talked to a few of them and they really are underestimating themselves just like I was at the beginning of the season,” Rosson said. 

Cross Country did everything they could to make a name for themselves this season: they are the highest placing state teams of the fall season at Arlington. Next year, the teams will change, but the desire for success and the hard-work will still be there year after year.