An Inside Look at Cross Country


Lili Gadret

As at any high school, sports are important. Some sports, such as football and basketball, get a lot of attention, but some aren’t recognized as much. Cross country would be one of those sports.  

It might seem less interesting to watch, as it is just running a three-mile course as fast as humanly possible. However, it is a great sport to get in fantastic shape and it gives the same feeling of being on a team. 

A lot of the sports offered at the school require tryouts, but cross country does not. However, it is ideal to train a few times before going to the first practice. The races are always 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), so three miles is the usual distance that is done in practice. 

It is always excellent to do more than expected, as it gives a better workout. Then when it comes to running a race, it feels easier because it is actually possible for the runners who push themselves to run more if it were an option.  

The coach, Mr. Graham, has been coaching for over 30 years. The feeling of having a coach who has been running most of his life and coaching for so many years makes it feel like you are being trained by a true professional who knows how to help you succeed.

The first meet was on Aug. 31, but the team did not place. At the meet on Sept. 7, the team also did not place as there were about 300 people running in each race. As the season progresses, usually the times improve. 

Now, what is a good time for a three-mile race? For girls, 25 minutes and under is a satisfactory time. For guys, a favorable time is 20 minutes and under. For State, winning times range from 15 to 18 minutes for guys or girls, respectively.

Practices are held Monday through Friday, and generally, the meets are on Saturdays. Practices start around 4:25 p.m. with stretches, including abdominal exercises and more. Since last year, the team has been using stretching bands to prevent injuries. 

After stretches, the coach tells the team which trail/run they will do that day and then they are off. When they finish their runs, they meet at the track to do strides. Strides help improve form and mechanics in running. After strides there are more stretches, to prevent injuries and soreness. 

The season continues until November. 

Cross country is a sport that can take the place of a P.E. credit, but don’t join for that reason — do it to have fun. Team members are welcoming. They will warn you that it will be tough, but if you stick to it, you can do it!