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Girls’ Cross-Country: Teammates First, Athletes Second

Kayla Romero

Kayla Romero

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It takes a strong, committed student to voluntarily run every day and spend half of most Saturdays racing, on top of AP and honors classes, clubs, and even other sports. These are the kinds of kids that make up Fenwick’s cross country team.
Cross country is a mentally and physically challenging sport. The girls’ and boys’ team run upwards of 30 miles a week per person, and that’s the bare minimum.
The season lasts about 2 months in the fall. However, these runners typically run over the summer too, and running does not stop after the two months of the season are over. For many of the team members, they continue to run for the entire offseason.
You might be thinking, “Why would you ever join the cross country team?” Contrary to popular belief, cross country is not just running mile upon mile. It’s more than the pain from a hard workout and the happiness from finishing a race. Cross country is the time you spend with friends everyday after 3:10. It’s the pasta parties and the final prayer before a race starts.
Speaking as a runner on the girls’ team, I know the bond that develops between each girl. The bonds formed on the cross country teams at Fenwick are special and unique.
Mr. Roche, the head coach for the girls team, describes how cross country is so different from any other sport.
“First off, these athletes chose to be uncomfortable by running each day. In a society where comfort seems to foolishly be the goal, each practice the runners find at least a little hurt. It is counter cultural, but I would attest it is where our culture should be.” He is not wrong.
Who in their right mind would actively choose to put themselves through pain everyday? Well, the answer is the cross country team. It seems funny, but the team actually bonds over the pain.
On weekly long runs they confide in each other and grow stronger as friends. During workouts they find comfort in knowing that everyone is going through the same thing, and on their easy days, the team jokes around and occasionally even has a silly string battle.
During the season, the cross country teams spend an immense amount of time with each other, sometimes to the point where it seems like they are never not together.
Mr. Roche continued: “Second, the bond that these 60 athletes have is rare to find on teams. We nearly always practice and race together which creates a proverbial melting pot of Fenwick with their relationships.”
Both the girls and guys cross country team tries their best to befriend all kinds of people on the team. Being the fastest doesn’t matter, but being a good teammate does.
These are just two of many reasons why the cross country team is so special. There is a certain camaraderie shared between every athlete that runs on cross country. There is also massive respect for one another, even for those outside of Fenwick’s team.
Early in the season, the OPRF cross country team lost a runner. This was heartbreaking news to the Fenwick cross country teams as well. To show their support, the girls cross country team presented the OPRF team with socks and a prayer.
Although it was raining and cold that day, the team in mourning accepted the socks, and in return, developed a shared respect that can never be taken away.
The Fenwick community is incredibly proud of their cross country teams, not only because of how well they have performed, but because of the positive influence they have in the community and school.

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Girls’ Cross-Country: Teammates First, Athletes Second