Chasing Legacies

Cross Country runners describe the ins and out of the team.

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Chasing Legacies

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Danny Johnston

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The Cross Country team has been working tirelessly since May to prepare for their competition season this fall. With the loss of last year’s seniors, it is now up to the graduates of 2019 to take charge and lead the team while also working to integrate the new freshmen on the team.

“We make sure upperclassmen really include the underclassmen and make them feel like they’re not some newbies,” senior Madelynn Hill said. “We really try to make sure they’re included in everything we do.”

There is no doubt there is special bond between those on the cross country team.

“We are like a family, we also all run the same distance so it makes us feel closer since we are all going through the same experiences,” Hill said.

This past year the team faced one of the most difficult obstacles, the death of coach Tim Nixon.

“When we lost coch Nixon it was really hard for the team but it made us closer. In our grief, we found hope in each other,” junior Tyler Bolz said.

Although Nixon can not be at practices and competitions, the lessons he taught the members of the cross country team will last for a long time.

“We wear wristbands that have his name on them so we know that when things get tough to always push through,” Hill said.

With district and state drawing near and pressure rising, practices and teamwork are becoming more important than ever.

“We are running longer and farther and just getting mentally prepared,” Bolz said.

Practices are becoming more rigorous, and runners are turning to their sources of leadership to push them to the finish line.

“We have seven really good coaches,” coach Jordan English said. “There is probably not another team in the state that has seven coaches so we are lucky in that regard. We have coaches that makes kids fast but also makes kids feel like they belong.”

Ask anybody passionate about running, and they will tell you the sport takes determination and a strong character. On another level than physical, they have to mentally prepare themselves to push themselves past their limits. English understands this more than any other. He was the assistant coach to Tim Nixon for three years.

“I learned how to build strong relationships with coaches and athletes. I’ve seen what it looks like to cultivate and lead a healthy program,” English said.

As English moved into the top spot, there were many people who helped him transition.

“Our staff of coaches was extremely helpful and gracious through the transition and they continue to be a huge help as we try to fill the shoes of Coach Nixon,” English said.

In addition to the help of coaches, the runners also do a great job of attributing to the team’s successful dynamic.

“Cross country kids motivate themselves a lot. Usually runners are disciplined and motivated,” English said. “We do like to dangle some stuff out in front of them, like the idea of winning conference and advancing to districts all the way to state in order to motivate them.”

While some cross country runners participate because of their love for running, others do it for the sense of teamwork and community that a sport as rigorous as cross country provides.

“My favorite thing about the team is that it provides such a strong family atmosphere,” Bolz said. “We all take care of each other in the tough times and in the good times we have great times.”

Photo by Arianna Gonzalez

Spotlight on senior Madelynn Hill

“Cross Country tests you and it’s up to the individual to get better. It tests you both physically and mentally. There’s always times during a race or workout where I doubt myself a little bit, but remind myself to keep a positive mind and attitude. I find an encouraging word and repeat it in my head to keep my mind off the pain.”

– Madelynn Hill

“She has great integrity and great character. She is always motivated and determined. You can always count on her to put her best foot forward. She’s always there for others, running related or not. You can tell she is a fierce competitor and she’s out for blood.”

– teammate Jane Sundell

“She has a commitment to getting better and this strengthens her commitment to the team. She leads by example and she puts her training first. She has a lot of experience racing at high school levels and beyond. Having her there is a huge support for the rest of the team.”

– Coach Aaron Hohn

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