Cross-country is a fast-paced sport that meets daily for practice in order to prepare for competitions. Aside from being a 6th hour class on campus, the co-ed team also meets at 5:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“I like the competition of cross-country,” Coach Selby said. “But it’s more than that, I love working with these kids because they’re generally great students and introverts. I like to see them come out of their shell and to give these kids the opportunity to be on a high school sports team.”
Along with practices, the team players follow weekly routines. During practice, each group has to meet certain requirements such as their scheduled mileage through time interval runs, mile repeats or long runs.
“My team this year is full of young girls who have more potential than they realize,” senior and team captain Jacquelin Santos said. “Every time we race, they continue to improve, which is going to help us be a better team.”
Made up of three different teams, cross-country has a varsity, J.V. and freshman team. Earning second place, cross-country had their first meet on Sept. 2 at the Longbow Golf Course where they participated in three races. The first race was a varsity race for both boys and girls, the second race was an open race, and the last race was a combined freshman race. Results from each gender were combined to determine the winner of each division. Since then, cross-country has participated in seven other races all leading up to their State meeting on Nov. 4 at the Cave Creek Golf Course.
“What people don’t know about cross-country is how mentally and physically hard it is. You have to put yourself in a good mindset to where you know you can keep pushing through, even when you don’t think you can,” Santos said. “ Even though it isn’t a super interesting sport, having people cheer us on makes a huge difference during a 3.1 mile race.”
Every week, the cross-country team trains six days on courses filled with large hills and different climates designed to test the member’s limits.
“I am very excited to go to state,” junior and cross-country team member Broderick Bourgeois said. “I feel prepared because of the training plan the coaches have given us. We put in so much time and effort into every practice and race.”
Cross-country continues to practice relentlessly in hopes to win at State on Nov. 4. Visit the cross-country team website at http://www.mpsaz.org/rmhs/athletics/programs/xc or contact Coach Selby or Coach Krieg in Room 816.
(Photo By Dan Kent)