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Running the Race and Going the Distance- Cross Country

Constance Phelan, Editor-In-Chief

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For the first time in 11 years, the girls’ cross country team finished their 2016 fall season at the state championship. Over the years many individuals have qualified, but the last time the entire team went to states was 2004.

“A state championship includes the best from all over Florida,” cross country coach and science teacher Francis Moxie said. “Most of the races that our athletes participate in don’t always include the fastest individuals or teams, and you usually don’t have to run a qualifying time in order to run. At the state meet, all athletes have contributed to a qualifying time that ranks them among the fastest in the state and sometimes in the nation.”

The Patriots placed first at districts and then moved on to regionals where they placed second in their best performance of the season, advancing the team to states. At the state championship, the team placed sixth.

“I really liked the competition aspect, it was fun trying to beat your old times as well as the other racers, the season showed who put work in,” freshman Ashley Klingenberg said. “I also really liked the team. They are all so loving and now I’ve made many new friends.”

The team consisted of a younger group of girls this year, with many of the Varsity runners being either freshmen or sophomores. These include freshman Ashley Klingenberg, freshman Emma Powell, sophomore Chloe Hyde, and sophomore Jordan Stevens.

“It was different because I’m a freshman so everything is new and a lot bigger than you think it would be,” freshman Emma Powell said. “It was good to go there and experience it.”

The team’s biggest challenges this season were injuries and tough workouts. A few of the top runners encountered injuries that put them out for days to weeks, like tendonitis or strained muscles. It was hard for the athletes to balance their schoolwork, cross country workouts, outside schedules, and health.

“Workouts are always tough when one has a difficult time balancing classes, clubs, work, sleep, eating right, and running hard each and every day,” Moxie said. “Also, when you have such a young team and many of our athletes being exposed to this schedule for the very first time, it can be very overwhelming.  Of the top seven Varsity runners, four of them were at the freshman and sophomore level of high school.  It’s impressive to see such young runners adapt to a busy schedule so quickly and, in addition, do so well.”

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Running the Race and Going the Distance- Cross Country