Cross country dashes into the season


Jenny Loveland

Magnet senior Bentley Huff runs his race, competing against other runners in the fastest boys time bracket. As a fourth year runner, Huff witnessed the team’s evolution over the years. “I definitely think the culture is a little different, because my first two seasons we were in a different region and we were always in state contention. Last season was a wake up call, because we got put in a much harder region, so last season was kind of rough on all of us and we kind of all went into a bad mentality, but I think this season is definitely better and we at least have a chance,” Huff said.

Jenny Loveland, Copy Editor

Kicking off the season with shoes drenched in dew, NC’s cross country team ran their first race of the 2021-2022 school year early Saturday morning. Harrison High School hosted the Hoya two-mile race, taking place at Allatoona Creek Park in the morning fog. The meet, which consisted of three tiers of races to accommodate runners of every level, provided NC’s team with the perfect opportunity to break in their season with a shorter race than the typical 5ks that they will compete in until November.

With a difficult time trial held earlier in the week, runners seized the opportunity to showcase their best performance at the race, courtesy of the cool temperatures, a cheering crowd, and the gentle course. Individually, runners overcame obstacles and stress to perform their best during the race.

“I was kind of in a slump after our time trial. I was really sick and didn’t finish [the time trial] and the race kind of helped me get back into the groove of things. I had a couple of good practices before I was sick, but I was definitely kind of out of it all week. The race definitely helped me feel better about the season coming up. I’m definitely happy with my time. I PR’ed [beat a personal record] by about fifty seconds,” magnet senior Bentley Huff said.

Although race officials have not released times yet due to technical errors, several other runners beat their personal bests, setting the tone for what they hope will become a memorable season. While the team has undergone unavoidable changes caused by COVID-19, shifting regional boundaries, and veteran loss from graduation, runners have prepared to live up to their potential as a whole, and coaches plan to help them along.

“The kids really put on a show. They did great this morning. Our region really is tough, but the expectations that we put on the kids are always the same. We expect this team to work hard and qualify for state, that’s the expectation. The fact that it’s tough doesn’t change that expectation, we just have to work harder to make that happen,” Head coach John Huff said.

A common theme of connecting this hard-working attitude towards racing to goals outside of cross country ran among the runners. While each runner approached the race differently, several spoke of how they appreciated the perseverance they built by running for miles each day at practice and at races.

“I’ve ran since freshman year and I’m not the fastest runner on the team by any means, but it is nice pushing myself and having something that I’m committed to and seeing other people give me that motivation. It’s not necessarily about a time, but it’s about motivation and pushing myself to move forward in the sport and just in life in general,” magnet junior Mya Conner said.