Running with the pack, Cross Country Style

Madison B.

Staff Writer

Cross country is a sport in which long distance runners race on open fields, through woods, and over hills. A cross country course consists of 3.1 miles, or a 5k. Long distance runners are some of the most in shape and athletic people there are. To be a true cross country runner, the runners must have a strong body and a healthy heart on order to endure the many long practices and meets. Although it seems as if it is not a difficult sport, cross country is one of the toughest there is. This year, Woodstock’s boys and girls cross country teams have shown what a real team is.

During the 2014-2015 cross country season, the Woodstock Wolverines have accomplished countless feats during races. Through shin splints, harsh weather conditions, and muddy trails, the team has been able to overcome it all, coming out stronger than ever. Practicing twice a day, running up to 11 miles and hitting the weight room, the runners are both mentally and physically ready to take on anything that comes their way. CoRunning MBach Kirk Scharich and Coach Wakely Louis have helped along the way, giving the runners all the support and critique necessary to nurture their development in the sport.

Preparing the body and mind for practices and races is very important. Woodstock’s cross country team has been practicing since the beginning of the summer and will continue to practice through November. Since the team runs as much as they do, the team members must eat often and stretch out daily. Coach Scharich says, “Being the coach of over 40 kids, I try to keep each and every one of my runners healthy. I give them workout plans and diet plans to make sure of it.” Each runner on the team has his or her own preparation process and knows what is needed to succeed. Catherine Moreau, 11th grade runner, says, “I’ve prepared for this season the same as my last two years. I run a lot, I eat right, and I go into every race and practice with a good attitude.” The cooperation between coaches and runners has made the preparation of their season smooth and has made the runners stronger.

The team as a whole has had multiple victories and has taken home many trophies, but that could not be done without the individual successes. Before races, the runners go into the competitions as a team, but they walk up to the starting line as individuals. Moreau says, “Practicing with the team and pushing each other at practice is what makes us able to run as individuals. Even though we are enemies during the race, right after we go right back to teammates.” The runners go into each race trying to get a better time than before. The whole point in racing is trying to beat the previous best time and gain a PR (personal record); those two little letters can make a runner the happiest person ever. Senior Owen Bailey, cross country team captain, says, “Beating your own time is one of the best feelings. It proves to yourself that you have gotten better, and that makes you want to just beat it again.” Some may call these runners crazy for never being satisfied with their times, but that is what makes the sport so intriguing.

Although the season is not over yet, the team has already made history, has received new PRs, and has been able to take on some of their roughest battles. Coach Louis states, “Going to the meets this year has been a good time, every time. The team kicked butt at Coach Wood (a race), as well as county. I am very impressed with what I have seen thus far.” On October 11th, the JV Lady Wolverines took home the 1st place trophy at County, leaving Cherokee, Creekview, and most importantly Etowah in the dust. Also, the team’s top two boys, Owen Bailey (12th grade) and Corey Champion (11th grade), took 4th and 8th place in the Varsity County race. Bailey says, “I feel like we have gone out with a bang this season; County treated us well this year.” After seeing how the team raced on October 11th, at the county meet, the team as a whole is excited to see what comes next.

Each and every week, day in and day out, the team is out there running no matter how hot or cold it is. Coach Scharich says, “I am very happy with the performances and results we have had this season. I thought I knew what my runners were capable of at the beginning of the year, but after watching this year, I was wrong; they are capable of even more.” Coming up soon is the state Cross Country meet, which will be held at Carrollton High School. Thus far, runners Owen Bailey and Alexandra Melehan have made state cuts. As the team approaches the end of the season, still having their pride and support, the Woodstock Wolverines cross country team is sure to finish strong. Like Coach Scharich always says, “If it aint hurtin’, it aint helpin’. Keep running!”

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