What a Team Really Looks Like

The cross country team poses for their picture at 6:45 am practice.

Natalie Ryan

The cross country team poses for their picture at 6:45 am practice.

Natalie Ryan, Sports Editor

On Google, it says the definition of team is when a group of players come together as a unit to achieve a goal. Well, for the Keller High School cross country team, it means so much more.

     I am going to be honest. After I finished middle school cross country, I told myself that I would never put myself through the stress of meets again. It is not that I didn’t like cross country, but I put too much pressure on myself at meets, even though I did not really have any. The thought of a watch tracking me down as I ran and labeling me as a number after I completed my run terrified me. I never thought of how I just accomplished a run, because I would always be so worried about those 4 numbers. I was afraid of “failing” myself and going slower than my last run, and it didn’t help that I had and still have a competitive streak. Fast forward to freshman year, the thought never occurred to me to join, but then sophomore year came around and towards the end of it, I was strongly debating on joining. What changed my mind you might be wondering, there were a couple of reasons. I wanted to stay in shape for soccer during and after off season, my mom wanted me to join saying it would be so much fun to be able to run with a big group of kids, and Julia Black who sat at my lunch table on A days gushed about how great and fun cross country was, so I decided why not join plus, I already knew a few kids.

     Currently a junior and cross country season is almost over and words cannot express how exuberated I am that I became apart of the cross country team. That’s right I pulled out a fancy vocab word, because I truly am happy that I get to be apart of such a wonderful program. The team is so welcoming and friendly. No one gives a thought of how good you are, whether you are on varsity or not, they look at you for who you are and not based on your skill. Every time you run by someone they greet you with a smile and a good job. On pre-race days you get to experience the bittersweetness of an ice bath together. You go through the first couple of minutes of excruciating pain together, and when you suffer with other people it brings you closer to them I feel like. After, you quickly hop out of the ice bath your legs feel relaxed and quite numb, and you just laugh it off with your fellow teammates.

    “My favorite parts of cross country are the people, the pasta parties, and just having a good time running” enthused junior Callahan Kelly.

     Of course the people in cross country emulate the true definition of teammates and kindness, but the coaches also contribute to the program being amazing. All three of them, Coach Zaring, Jewel, and Garnett, exemplify what a coach should be. They support us, and encourage us, and give us tips in running and life, and they push us to be our best, and even though it sounds like it should be expected you would be surprise that a lot of coaches do not know all of their players names. There are about seventy kids in cross country and they know each one’s name. They definitely have impacted the program and helped make it as successful as it is.

    “The coaches tell us to run with a purpose, get good nutrition, and to get better everyday. My favorite thing about the coaches is how close they are to us and how they push and encourage us” raved junior Michael Signo.

    All in all, I recommend if you are looking for a non-cut sport and willing to work hard then join cross country. Everyone is welcoming and the atmosphere is positive and upbeat. Keller High School Cross Country has probably been the one of the best times in my high school career so far other than freshmen volleyball.