Cross country runners overcome obstacles


Senior Maleek Porter runs the course at Smith Cotton. Cross country competed at Smith Cotton Sept. 15. Porter finished 10th in the race.

  From sprinting around the parking lot to jogging on the track, cross country runners are practicing hard nearly every day after school. These practices are aimed to improve each individual’s qualities as they are faced with obstacles that the sport of cross country provides.

  Cross country runners are seniors Robert McMurtry, Maleek Porter, Evan Kowal, juniors Julian Barkley, Kathryn Ricke, Scott Winters, sophomore Trey Palmer and freshmans, Alyssa Alcantara, Bryan Coffey, Alan Landsberg and Calvin Long.

  The challenges of cross country have been very difficult for the coach and team players. Banfield believes the biggest challenge for cross country is keeping up the athlete’s endurance.

  “Endurance is when you have to go longer, and not just that short burst of energy that sports like football and basketball require. For cross country, you have to have that true spirit in a sense, because there are no breaks. You don’t just get to sit out and then come back and hit for a few minutes. It’s continual and non-stop,” Banfield said.

  The challenges of cross country for a student is motivation.

  “My personal challenge is finding the motivation to run,” freshman Calvin Long said. “To help motivate me, I think of food. Instead of thinking about how much pain my legs are in from running, I try to focus on something that I like to do or eat. Maleek told me to do something like that and so I thought about food, and it really helps me.”

  “The sport is very difficult,” freshman Alyssa Alcantara said. “It is hard to motivate yourself to run up a hill over and over again. My coach has been helping me by increasing my time, getting ready for the race and raising my confidence.”

  Alcantara brought home a Silver Medal with a 2nd place finish out of 66 varsity girls at the Hermitage meet.

  Cross country terrain can be difficult to maneuver through. The players often practice for this kind of obstacle by running on hills, tracks, ground, and stretching.

  “We start off with a ten minute warm-up, and then we go into form run, then dynamics and sometimes – depending on the day – we do 400 repeats and hills. After a hard day we go into a long run,” Long said

  While some athletes struggle to keep their motivation consistent, some struggle with their timing. Sophomore Kathryn Ricke has been working her hardest to get her time to about 28 minutes.

  “Trying to say under 30 mins is my biggest struggle,” Ricke said. “I learned that if your head says you’re tired, you’re not actually tired. Your head thinks you’re tired but your body can go a lot farther than you think.”

  Senior captain Maleek Porter has faced injury and pain, but has managed to keep himself motivated for the sake of the sport.

  “It has been a hard, long road. Right now I’ve had a lot of experience with difficulties, injury and a lot of pain due to continuous running, but I know we are getting there. We are getting better. It just comes with a price,” Porter said. “All of the time I feel like I want to give up. The thought of giving up shouldn’t cross your mind, but it does and it will, and you just have to fight yourself and keep running.”