Girls’ Cross Country Runs on Friendships

by Morgan Sharbaugh

The Girls’ 2018 Cross Country team raced past school records and sprinted through injuries to a fantastic season.

State

The state runners placed third as a team, a new record for the school cross-country program. After a long season of grueling workouts and running 5-10 miles a day, the state runners pushed through with phenomenal results. The placements were as follows:

  • 34-senior Minami Ford
  • 51-senior Elise Kemper
  • 52-sophomore Avarie Faulkner
  • 63-sophomore Emily Pelfrey
  • 90-senior Amira Faulkner
  • 93-junior Addie Hann
  • 144-junior Kayla Paul

The young women ran impressive times at a race containing hundreds of runners. These seven girls were accompanied by two alternates, sophomore Ally Jiovani and senior Rachel Kahler, who were prepared to race at state in the event one of the other runners couldn’t. Jiovani and Kahler put in as many miles as the state runners.

The state meet posed an immense amount of excitement for the runners and coaches alike. The team was prepared to race but then the rainy Ohio weather stepped in and the State meet was pushed back a week due to the course being flooded. Despite the challenges the weather posed, the runners still ran with amazing times.

The Season

The season was a hot one, with most of the temperatures for the meets being between 80 and 95 degrees. After a long summer of training three days a week, the runners were ready to explore new times. Each runner dropped their race times from last season. Sophomore Dasha Crocker fought past her physical disability to reach a goal she’d been hungering for the whole season.

Coach Barnes introduced a new approach to training, adding weightlifting to the dreaded workout Wednesday. After persevering through hill repeats or tempo runs, the runners weight lifted for 45 minutes. Amira Faulkner claims that Wednesday lifting was one of her favorite things about the season.

The team opened up several opportunities to explore new friendships. Sophomore Heidi Raber says the new friendships were one of her favorite things about the season. The beauty of the cross-country in that as a runner improves, they get to find new groups to run with, developing new friendships.

The Seniors

This year, the team will be losing several teammates as they graduate and go on to grow and flourish in college. For both the seniors and the returning runners, the end of the season can be sad, but the lessons learned and the friendships made will help these seniors throughout life. There are several things these seniors will miss. For Amira Faulkner, roasting Coach Barnes in one of them. Captain and Senior Molly Dunham says, “I’ll miss getting to spend every afternoon for three months with my best friends and the mentor Mrs. Johnson has been to me and Mr. Barnes.”

What Cross County Means

Some people view the cross-country as crazy people running, but for those on the team, cross-country is something else. The team welcomes newcomers, and according to freshmen Jaqui Bouchard, that is one of the best things about it. In cross-country, everyone runs, and no one sits the bench, allowing individual improvement each race. As each individual improves, the team improves.

The cross-country team becomes a family throughout the season. Everyone cheers on those running in races, and when you pass someone on the trails, a “Good job, ladies!” greets you. In cross-country, everyone is kind, including the other teams. In cross-country, everyone is included, and everyone runs, no matter what.

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