Unsung Heroes: Raven Swanson



Senior Raven Swanson sprints to the finish of the only home meet for the Eagles at River Meadows Park.

The 2015 Cross Country (XC) season at Arlington High School was definitely a good one: both the boy’s varsity team and two individual female runners ran their way all the way to state. Despite the wealth of talent on the XC team, the most impressive element of this close-knit group consists of the camaraderie, friendship, and the overall feeling of family that emanates from the team.

One runner in particular has been known throughout the last two years to provide a sense of inspiration and joy to any aspect of life: Senior Raven Swanson.

“Raven is just one of those girls you want to have on your team, I only had her for two years but she is one I wish I could have had for four,” said Coach Murray.

Even though she joined late, Swanson acted as one of the driving forces on the powerhouse Arlington XC team according to Murray.  “She may be one of the most influential runners I have currently.” When asked to elaborate on how this leadership was conveyed, Murray said that “even the faster kids on the team can gain motivation from her, she may not be the quickest on the team but she works hard for every ounce she gets out of it.”

Swanson joined cross country starting her junior year, and has taken off with it ever since.  “Cross Country is awesome; there is not a day that goes by where we don’t spend all day together,” she said.

To Swanson, XC is more than just running, and more than just a sport.  Through the countless miles ran, the long bus rides, and the (rare) losses, she remained positive throughout practices and meets–one of the many reasons as to why she had the influence that she did.

“It’s more of a family than a team,” said Swanson.

The connection between her and her newfound “family” is one that is stronger than even the high-tech shoes that many of the runners sport.

Swanson feels close to her fellow runners, and said that she will return next year to cheer them on.

“Oh yeah, I am definitely going to come back to watch my teammate’s race. We are all best friends really; I love this team.”

To her teammate Katie Taylor, Raven is more than just a mentor and a friend. “Raven is like an older sister, and she is always there for me.”

Taylor went on to say that, “Raven has been running for two years now, and has always been super inspirational, especially with her work ethic and her constant positive attitude.”

Both Coach Murray and several teammate’s all reached the same conclusion: that Swanson’s work ethic, determination, and willingness to be a team player all led up to her being named most inspirational.

Although Swanson never went on to win any of her races, her myriad of positive attributes all came together to make her a vital member of Arlington XC.

Swanson will not attempt to run for any college, but will continue to run outside of school and take a more personal approach.