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Cross country team aims high, improves after inaugural season

Despite the late summer heat and smog-filled air, cross country athletes run tirelessly to shave seconds off their time. While other students and teachers drive home in their air-conditioned cars, the team braves 100 degree weather, polluted air and gasps of; “you run? in order to succeed.

After the first cross country team in 20 years last year, returning members and new participants will join to train with three mile runs at Woodward Park.

Girls’ team captain, Janae Ford, ’09, hopes for a successful season as she leads the team.

“I want to set an example this year for the first-time runners and to do my best,” Ford said. ” I am looking forward to seeing different relationships develop through team bonding and I am excited to see people join me and run their personal best.”

Ford finds coach Ericlee Gilmore’s strict health guidelines helpful during the week, in order to perform at her best. However, the standards are not as easy to keep on the weekends.

“For the most part I eat healthy and a lot during the week,” Ford said. “It takes a lot for me to keep my energy up and to not get tired and weak. But on the weekends my friend Kylie and I like to enjoy a Pepsi on our horse rides and Taco Bellis really good as well.”

As Ford’s track and field experience gives her an edge over competitors, other athletes also joined to enhance sports resumes and strengthen their skills. Senior Tyler Graham joined cross country in order to assist the boys team, as well as improve his own ability.

“My goals this season are to place in the top three in league,” Graham said. “I also want to increase my personal speed and endurance. I enjoy running and it always feels good to beat Doug (Daniel ’09) in a race.”

Though there are many newbies participating, seasoned athletes such as Daniel, who petitioned to start the team on-campus, hope to capitalize on their past achievements.

“This year I feel more confident and experienced,” Daniel said. “I hope to make state and improve my time.”

While many see summer as a break from school sport responsibilities, Daniel continued to run and prepare to qualify for state during the summer lull. In order to improve even more, Daniel changed his eating habits in order to lower his time on the trail.

“Starting this summer I have switched from white bread to wheat and tried to cut soda completely out of my diet,” Daniel said. “I am also trying to eat more because I have such a fast metabolism and burn so many calories when I run.”

Despite the young team, Gilmore believes the team has the necessary skill to carry them to the finals.

“I am hoping for at least two people to make state and for everyone to improve their personal times and try their hardest,” Gilmore said. “I expect our team to represent school pride by being respceful and kind to other athletes and other teams.”

With only four returning members, responsibility falls to the captains to lead the team.

“Janae and Doug are considered the captains because they are both returners and great encouragers to their teammates,” Gilmore said, “Our team strives to represent Jesus and use the gifts he has given them perseverance and passion.”

In an effort to build confidence in his team, Gilmore hinted at his expectations for the year.

“I believe one athlete will greatly improve and shock me this season,” Gilmore said. “And I think that when they run better then they ever thought they could it will surprise them as well.”

The team will compete in their second meet on Sept. 13.

For more information, e-mail Gilmore or check out the cross country sport shorts.

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    Jessa SearlesApr 21, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Paige is awesome! Remember when that chick on Parlier tried to kill you and instead of giving us the foul and a free kick (which you would’ve made in). He just called the game?