Feet pounding, chest tight, sides cramping, lungs telling you to stop; all these flee from mind at the sound of fellow teammates cries of encouragement. The final stretch, the last 200 meters, where runners think, “I am going to collapse”, and maybe they do, but not before they cross that finish line. Weeks of pushing themselves to their furthest limit is a feeling that could never be replaced by anything, according to members of the MC Cross Country (MCXC) teams.
“The thing I like most about XC is that it teaches you more than just how to run, it teaches you how to push yourself further than you ever thou
ght you could, and this extends beyond running and into everyday life,” junior Jacob Keliikoa said.
“[…] We all helped push each other to get faster every day, and we all have become very close friends by going to hell and back together every run,” Keliikoa said.
The MC Cross Country teams have been working all season towards doing well at CIF and qualifying for State, and succeeded. The boys placed first as a team at CIF and senior Katie Hawley placed first.
“I definitely took pride in being the CIF champion, but my pace was about four seconds slower than it normally is on that course,” Hawley said. “I would’ve had a faster time if there were more people around me to pace with or pass. At State however, I had a 35 second course personal record. This is probably because there were about 12 girls I passed in the last 800 meters, and having competition around brings out a lot of energy in me at the end of a race. I was very proud of the teams progress and how we were able to show it at State.”
The MCXC runners believe that Cross Country is more of a team sport than individual.
“When you’re running, you need to know your teammates are going to finish hard and it’s all about placing in a race, so you want your team close together,” senior Nickoli Melovidov said. “There is no better feeling than running with you family by your side trying to win CIF and State.”
Winning CIF and qualifying meant many different things to different runners.
“I pushed myself to my absolute limit for CIF and for State I left everything out there on the course,” senior Brennan Cloes said. “In CIF we ran faster as a team than we had at any other point, and it paid off. We had the fastest team time in the meet! In State we had a blast and still worked incredibly hard, earning ourselves fifth place as a team.”
However, one good race does not make a team, just as one bad race does not ruin one.
“At CIF, I didn’t have a good race and I was super excited when I found out that I qualified for state with the last individual spot,” junior Sophie Jones said. “At state, I definitely raced way better, and I felt really strong the whole race and gad what was probably the best kick of my season.”
Running may seem daunting and frankly a bit impossible, but team members explain that it is truly more a mental thing than physical.
I have always enjoyed the challenge of running,” Hawley said. “It is simply a competition between which girl has the strongest mentality ,because every runner knows, it is 99% mental. It takes guts and strain to race, and I guess I like the risk.”
As difficult as the team members may consider running to be, they pushed through and earned the results they have been working toward every day of the season.
Winning CIF on the boys end and making it to state for members of both teams, they set the bar high for themselves for next season, but will continue to work hard towards their goals.