Race Day, Race Day, Race Day!

Cross Country Runners Share Close Bonds

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Sophia Allen

Last Few Races: Bradley Sullivan (20) races to the finish line at Blair. "My favorite part about cross country is the people," Sullivan said. "The team is made up of the most supportive and wonderful athletes I have ever met. I have the honor of running with the greatest people in this school." This is Sullivan's last year of cross country.

Regan Ehlert, Sports Editor

Saying Goodbye Kaylee Moore (20) smiling with her parents at senior night. “This season has been fun,” Moore said. “Now that the season has ended, I’m most looking forward to eating whatever I want and not feeling guilty about it.” Moore completed two years of cross country. Photo by Savannah Andrews

Chasing. Sprinting. Determination. Catching that runner up ahead, each athlete exploding with a competitive spirit. Feeling tired legs dragging with every step. Relief as runners scurry across the finish line. Aside from the running part of cross country, the sport also emphasizes teamwork and positivity. Athletes share close bonds with each other by running every day and supporting each other during the season. 

“I feel like cross country is a lot closer than any other sport,” junior Cade Suing said. “Doing long runs at practice makes almost have to get along with each other. I don’t think other sports have that closeness as much as cross country.” 

One of the special things about cross country is that everyone is doing the same thing: running 5,000-meters. There is no such thing as cutting or ‘benching’ someone on the team. Everyone runs the same distance; therefore, when the athletes feel like their legs and lungs are on fire, other runners know how they feel. Head coach Mr. Bryce Brunswig emphasizes this throughout the season. 

“We are all doing the same race,” Mr. Brunswig said. “It’s a 5,000-meter race. You spend so much time together doing workouts and runs that you adapt a great bond with people that are on the team. Even though it can be difficult at times, it is also enjoyable.” 

In cross country, the athletes and coaches constantly cheer each other on. Whether it is a fast workout, race or easy run, there is always someone inspiring other runners to do better. 

“The team is super supportive,” senior Kaylee Moore said. “Any time I am running, there is someone cheering me on, whether it’s my coach or teammates.” 

Every day there is a new, funny story to tell. The team’s time together is packed with silly situations and memories. Whether the runners are dancing during practice, playing Bop It on the bus or chatting during an easy run, there is always an uplighting vibe among the athletes. In addition, Mr. Brunsiwg runs a positive Twitter account for the runners; because of all the positivity, a lot of memories are made.   

“My favorite memories are when we go to state,” Suing said. “State is always fun- eating at Valentino’s the night before we race and just being complete spazzes. There is a lot of randomness that happens, and it all kind of piles up and makes cross country a really fun time.” 

Close bonds call for traditions before racing. At meets, the boys have traditions of crinkling their race bibs because “it looks cool” and sharing a cold Coke before the race. The girls have their own traditions to prepare for a race.

“We do the same things every meet,” Moore said. “We all braid our hair the same way, put ribbons in our hair, have handshakes before we start and we always do a prayer.” 

JV team members finished off their season on Oct. 15 at the JV Championships. For the cherry on top, varsity runners went to state on Oct. 25 at the UNK cross country course. Sophomore Regan Ehlert and senior Kayla Adams individually qualified, and the boys’ varsity team qualified, getting first in districts and sixth in the state. Through positivity and supportive teammates, the cross country team stamps this season as a success.