Cross country runs into success this season

Michaelann Brasgalla ‘14

 

Reporter

 

 

Every day at 2:20 p.m., the bell rings. Staff and students rush to exit the building as quickly as possible, but there is a group of students anticipating this time for a completely different reason: it is time to run.

After school, the cross country team meets in Coach Jason Hubbard’s room, 119. During practice, the amount of miles each person runs depends on his or her progress. One group will run seven miles; another group will run six miles, and so on.

“I started at less than a mile, but now I run seven miles every day with the exception of long runs and speed workouts,” said Eric Passeno ‘16.

The team also does speed work workouts.

“Speed workouts consist of 400’s or 800’s, and your goal is to hit the same time over and over again,” said Nicole Werthmann ‘15.

The cross country team also competes in races. Each race is a 5K run, which is 3.1 miles. This is not your average lap around the track. The races are run outside where the terrain can be anything from grass to gravel, mud to hills. These races are more than physical, they are mental, too. Each runner has her or her own source of motivation.

“Every stride I take, I feel like history is being made,” said Emily Oehmke ‘15.

Jacob Schaldenbrand ‘17 runs to be a part of a family and for the experience.

“I run to represent North in the meets, and it’s something I can dedicate myself to,” said Schaldenbrand.

The cross country runners are more than just a team: they are a family. They have team dinners over each other’s houses, and they go to camp for five days together. They even incorporate running into team outings, like going to the cider mill to run, then going to get cider and donuts afterwards.

Running has become a big part of the team’s lives. There are no days off for the cross country team. For some, cross country takes up a big part of an already busy schedule. Between soccer practices three times a week, soccer games during the week and weekends, cross country meets and practices, stress from taking two AP classes, other homework, and preparing for the ACT, Werthmann has no time to sleep.

“It’s a lot, but cross country is worth it,” said Werthmann.

Others do not worry about working it into their schedule because running has become so habitual.

Cross country is not your average, main-stream sport. Practice is held every day, and they run until their legs feel like they are going to give out. When it comes time for the races, the runners need to be as mentally prepared as they are physically because the course is a test on both physical and mental abilities. Even though they are a team, they are so much more than that; they are a family, too. They spend time together in and out of their running shoes. They all found their love for running in different ways, at different levels. Some of them run cross country to stay in shape; others do it because they fell in love with running from playing a different sport. A few were more advanced than others, but they have all made incredible progress from their starting points.

“There is no better feeling than running; I could describe it in so many ways, even give you a science behind it, but it’s something you have to experience for yourself,” said Oehmke.