Cross country uniqueness strenghtens team dynamic

Due to cross country being a sport where all athletes complete the same distance, athletes on the team find it easier to become a stronger as a group.


Arrowhead photo by Dekai Averett

Racing the clock…Striding towards the finish line, sophomore Aiden Maue closes on the final stretch at the last home meet of the year. Maue finished second behind senior Manny Rota-Talarico.

Because of the uniformity in cross country running compared to its track and field counterpart, the team finds that it’s easier to form bonds with one another.
According to senior Manny Rota-Talarico there are differences between the cross country and track teams.
“Everyone is doing different things for track, but for cross country you’re all doing the same thing,” Rota-Tolarico said. “So it’s easier to form a type of bond with your teammates.”
All teammates form a bond whether that may be during practices or during meets.
Head cross country coach John Donahue believes the team does not form roles.
Instead he believes that the leaders on the team “happen organically” instead of being assigned.
Junior Nathan Fickert said, “We don’t have titles.”
“The team has a great atmosphere with a lot of great people,” Fickert said.
Mentality is an important factor for some members of the team who said that cross country can be challenging.
Members of cross country have expressed that they enjoy running and that it helps clear their mind.
Each runner also experiences nervousness when they arrive to a meet according, to senior Alli Malmquist.
‘You can feel everyone is anxious and nervous because we all know we’ll be in extreme pain for the next 30 minutes,” Malmquist said.
“When the gun goes off, it’s all adrenaline and that’s what drives you to perform your best.”
Instead of competing in different events like pole vault or hurdles members of the cross country team compete on the same courses together and always run the same distance.
What makes cross country so unique, according to Rota-Talarico, is the lack of placed “obstacles” to plan for and think about.
Instead, runners are faced with hills and natural barriers that they have to clear but nothing is planted purposefully.
Cross country also continues to build bonds with each other as it is a closer atmosphere where everyone has a similar goal. Cross country experiences whether they endur.
Malmquist prefers cold where you can get warm opposed to hot where there is not much you can do about it.
Some they feel more comfortable on solid flat surfaces while others prefer a soft surface or it could simply vary on the type of day.
Positivity plays a factor in making sure everyone performs to the best of their abilities.
The boys and girls leaders have also said that there is satisfaction knowing that your hard work paid off.
“It’s a runners high,” said Malmquist.