You see them on the track, around campus, on sidewalks all over Rancho Peñasquitos. Their spandex, sports bras, and running shoes are inescapable, present at every turn to make you feel worse about your own physical shortcomings. While many of us haven’t run a mile since freshman PE, MC cross country continues to prove itself tough and fast, with an average distance of seven miles run every day. All this is in the oppressive heat of the past couple weeks, with no breaks.
“We have practice every day from 3-5:30,” senior Nicole Grazda said. “We run in the heat. Even when it’s super hot, it’s not cancelled.”
All this practice pays off, though, in the meets where MC really shows what they’re made of. At the Bronco Invite, the Sundevils took fourth place out of the 35 schools that attended. Before meets like this one, cross country members have to prepare their minds as well as their bodies.
“I like how running is very mental sport,” junior Rachel Loh said. “The biggest thing for preparing for big meets is to prepare myself not just physically, but mentally.”
Superstition can also play a part in performance, with rituals that have cemented themselves through the seasons.
“I have this lucky sports bra with butterflies on it,” Grazda said. “And I try to mentally plan it out the day before. I eat a lot of carbs.”
In addition to individual preparation, the XC team has its own customs that unite the runners beforehand.
“We all get in a circle and give each other positive feedback and we do a cheer,” Grazda said.
These traditions may be carried on by upperclassmen, but newer cross country members have also stepped up to become part of the team.
“I think we’re going to do pretty well this year because we have a lot of fast underclassmen and they’re working hard,” Grazda said.
As the 2015 season stretches ahead, MCXC is ready for the next few months of team bonding, pasta dinners, and running hard.
“I definitely think our team will succeed this because we have all been putting in a lot of effort and our runs keep getting faster and we keep getting stronger,” Loh said. “So I’m really looking forward to a great season with my teammates.”