Sporting galaxy shorts and sweat dripping down their faces, the seven runners of the varsity men’s cross country team race to the finish line at the Clovis meet in Fresno, the same course that will be used for the state championships in Nov.
The goal of state this year became possible due to the cross country team’s improvement this season. In order to qualify for state, the Varsity team must place in the top three at NCS. Several members of the team came in already in shape after running over the summer, which helped them pose as a larger threat to the other teams. There are two varsity freshman runners, Kevin Judd and Lorand Cheng, who have times that exceed the times of the sixth and seventh varsity runners who graduated last year. These improvements led to their tie for first place in a league meet on Oct. 1.
“We all are trying a lot harder this year, and working a lot harder,” varsity captain junior Cade Becker said.
A practice generally consists of a warm-up, a main run, and some non-running exercise. Cross country coach Jeanine Holmlund, or Coach B said that practices did not change this year; the runners changed.
“This year, a lot of people worked over the summer so they improved that way, and the workouts are getting better so we are getting a lot of improvement that way,” varsity captain junior Daniel Jones said.
This year, the entire cross country team, both men and women, have been doing cross training, which includes stationary biking and erging. Runners went to Crufit during practice as a team four times. They trained with non-running exercises to improve the full body strength that is necessary to succeed in cross country.
Varsity runner sophomore Reece Proctor said that the team is very close, and they support each other. In particular, the upperclassmen help the freshmen who are nervous or stressed.
The team is very close and as a group rather than as individuals, the entire men’s varsity team, some runners from junior varsity and the women’s teams bought galaxy shorts. League regulations require the whole team to wear the same outfit, but otherwise the requirements are very loose.
The runners paid for the shorts, and if someone did not want to buy them, other members of the team purchased the shorts for them to meet the requirements. Jones came up with the idea for the team shorts, not expecting the idea to be put into action.
“I usually wear one-inch split shorts that are pretty short, and I was on the website trying to find a few more.I saw the galaxy ones, so I ordered a pair for myself. Then I asked if anyone else wanted to get them, and the entire team said yes,” Jones said.
The galaxy shorts were not a necessary purchase for the team, but they have boosted the runners’ spirits. Becker said the shorts’ first appearance at the Clovis meet in Fresno made the meet much more fun for the varsity men’s team, and that the change of wardrobe gave the runners a sense of excitement.