Cross Country runs across the finish line

Eleanor Mancini, Student Writer

Being one of the longest running sports seasons at Knoxville Catholic, cross country runners have worked hard for months that contributed to their win at state Nov. 5.

“I like running because I started it when I was younger and its just, I don’t know how to explain it. It just really helps me push myself to do better,” Shila Kapaya, a junior for the girl’s team said.

Freshman Callie Tucker said she agrees that she doesn’t know what it is about cross country, she just really likes it.

“It helps me clear my head, and its really fun to run with the team,” Tucker said.

Though at the surface, cross country may seem to be an individualized sport, taking a closer look reveals how much of a team sport it really is. The runners all agreed the best part about being on the team is competing with your friends.

“It’s a really nice atmosphere because we’re all friends with each other, and we all help each other and push each other, but when its race time, then we get serious, and focus on what we need to do,” Kapaya said.

Tucker agreed, “There’s a lot of joking [on the team], but there’s also an atmosphere of hard work. Everyone works hard. Everyone contributes to the team.”

James Daffron added, “A lot of my drive comes from not wanting to let my team down because if I’m not running well, the team suffers too.”

According to many of the runners, one of the hardest things about cross country is the pressure.

Georde Goodwyn said, “The hardest thing to over come is running up to expectations, running what I can run on any given day, and  just following through with what I want to do.”

Tucker said the pressure was mainly centered on wanting to do the best for your team.

“There was a lot of pressure because, you know, you want to contribute to the team, and not let everybody down,” she said.

To deal with the pressure of scoring well for the team, the teammates always prays before the race to get in the mindset of running.

“We  always have special routine that we do before a race, and then you just need to stay focused, think about who you need to beat, and not think about it as your individual time, but how it affects your whole team,” freshman Eleni Christopoulos said.

During the race points are attributed to the top five runners according to their finishing place- first place wins 1 point, second is award 2, and so on. The goal is to have the least amount of points at the end of the day.

Throughout a race, the runners have to stay focused on this goal at hand.

“The hardest thing to overcome is to not slow down because there’s a point during a race when you just feel like you can’t do it, and you want to slow down, and the hardest thing sometimes is to not listen to that, and keep going, and just think of the team and that we are all doing it for each other, so we should overcome that,” Kapaya said.

Tornstrom added, “The mentality of just the races is really hard to get past, but all the training and preparation has been pretty good to overcome that.”

But after a race is over, according to Daffron, its worth the struggle.

“Its not easy, but once you overcome the challenges of it, you feel really great,” Daffron said.

Kapaya agreed that when you compete well, it becomes a race to remember.

“I think one of my proudest accomplishments would be how I did at Jesse Owens because last year, when I raced there, I did really bad. It was one of my worst races of the year, and I was really upset about that, which made me do bad in track, but I’ve continually worked on it, and worked  harder so I wouldn’t repeat how I did. It made me do better, so I did well this year,” she said.

The runners have continued to pursue future goals, set new personal records, and do what they could do that got them to continue to go for the win.

 

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