More than just running

Brandon Morrison, Coeditor

What do you have with 64 kids, 3 coaches and a finish line miles away? You have the SM North Cross Country team practicing for a meet.

Head coach Ryan Colburn and assistant coaches Aaron Davidson and Bruce Yarbrough run along side their students at practice as they run more than three miles each day. These practices do not only affect the students physically but mentally as well.

“We try to motivate every chance we get,” Colburn said. “The coaching in cross country happens at practice. When they are running a race there is little we can do.”

Cross country started with summer conditioning which received a large turnout, these practices took place from Monday to Thursday everyday.

Colburn said that practice is vital to competing well.

“[Practice] truly helps so many athletes,” Colburn said. “They can really see the benefits when the season gets underway.”

Cross country practices start with a meeting in Colburn’s room, then a warm up on the North front lawn followed by the work out which consists of running a set amount of miles depending on the day.

Junior Jason Foster wants people to know that running is not as bad as it may seem.

“Running has always gotten a bad rap,” Foster said, “but I haven’t had a day this year in which I haven’t looked forward to practice.”

Junior Micki Krezenski explains what it takes be a cross country runner.

“Cross country takes a pair of legs, commitment, determination and heart,” Krezenski said. “Cross country is unique in that you really learn to work as a team even though everyone is running on their own. Everyone pushes each other to do better and be the best they can be.”

Colburn says that in order to do well athletes must have a ton of self-discipline.

“They have to be willing to work hard,” Colburn said, “and realize that in a race, they are running alone, but their results will impact the team as a whole.”

Colburn said that these athletes work hard and deserve support.

“Come see a meet and see what it is all about, you might be surprised,” Colburn said.

The coaches are focusing on getting the team to be the best it can be.

“We are putting our focus more on the team instead of the individual this year,” Colburn said. “Our goal is to get both boys and girls to function as a unit, to get it to be the best it can be.”

The coaches give the team the skills to win the race but it is up to the team to use them.

“Our coaches make us think and concentrate on our race,” Foster said “We go through the steps and say what we need to do and from there it’s in our hands.”

Foster believes this unification is the sign of a good cross country team.

“We were a bunch of individuals, but this year we are a lot closer,” Foster said. “A good cross country team runs together and it will show in the results.”

Cross country has high expectations for themselves this season.

“We expect to get to state this year,” Colburn said. “We did it three years ago and we really want back.”

Colburn said it is important to be involved in an activity whatever it may be.

“It helps a student become well rounded,” Colburn said. “Grades are also usually better for students who participate in an activity compared to those who do not.”

Foster says it’s easy to be involved in activities like cross country.

“All it takes to be in cross country is motivation. All motivated runners will do well, as long as they are patient,” Foster said. “That’s what separates it from other sports, I think. Cross country is more desire based than talent based.

The feeling of pride and family is overwhelming with the cross-country team.

“The most rewarding thing about cross country is the social aspect. We have a big team this year so you get to meet new people,” Foster said.  “Someone is always cracking jokes during the warm-up and carbo loads are just amazing.”

Carbo loads are like team dinners. The team will gather at a teammate’s house and eat anything that could possibly have carbohydrates.

“Carbo loads are the best cross country tradition in my opinion,” Foster said.

To Krezenski, the cross country team, there is nothing better than the feeling received when the race is finished.

“The feeling after fighting, racing, doing my best, and knowing I have support and friends that are always there for me. That’s what is so rewarding for me,” Krezenski said. “Even if I think I ran a horrible race the coaches and my teammates still support me. We love the fight of the race. The adrenaline pumping and our hearts pounding; trying to pass over a hundred people all going for a common goal. To pass the finish line at the top of the group. That is the feeling that cross-country runners live for.”