- Clara Degois Sainz ’22
To many, cross country is a sport simply about running for as long as and as fast you can. What many don’t understand is the time, energy, and commitment that go into this intricate sport. The varsity girls’ cross country team at SHP is a perfect example of a team that has it all: the talent, and more importantly, the dedication that goes into making a strong team.
These qualities combined with the team’s great coaches, Ken Wilner and Sheryl Taylor, and unbreakable bonds between teammates will make for a season to remember. These girls show their dedication every day in practice, taking every step with purpose and running every mile to their maximum potential. They even train on weekends, to which many have taken a liking. When asked what her favorite memory of the sport was, Sophomore Janie Morganroth replied, “Any one of our Saturday long runs! No one wants to wake up at 8:00 am on a Saturday to workout, but I look forward to our Saturday runs as a team because I absolutely love running and chatting with the girls!”
For this team, every practice is more than just a few miles. It is a chance to push themselves, to bond with teammates, and to grow as an individual and as a team. Despite all of this optimism, the runners recognize that their sport comes with its own unique challenges. Cross country is very demanding, both physically and mentally. Each girl must push her body to the limit on every run in order to improve and attain a faster time. Because of the constant repetition of motion, overuse injuries are common.
Still, most girls agree that the mental aspect is the most challenging. “Although it is physically very hard, the mental game and staying with it during a race is even harder,” says sophomore Lucy Paynter. Janie agrees, adding that the most taxing part of the sport is “having the mental ability to keep running even when you’re exhausted.” The team’s resilience and strength is truly admirable. The girls’ reasons for joining cross country vary. For some, it is a fun way to stay in shape during other sports’ off seasons. Others have been doing it for years and prioritize it as their main sport.
Though their reasons for joining may be different, they stay with it and work hard every day for their teammates. Though the runners may obtain individual times in meets, the team aspect of the sport is central and critical. The Gators have been training and improving their individual times in preparation for their league meets this year. They hope to see many show up to support this amazing group of girls throughout the season!