The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

An exciting start to the ‘23 cross-country season

Mackenzie Blanco
NC Warriors jump into the ‘23 cross-country season with great dedication and excitement after weeks of practice. August 19, the team competed against each other in group-based costumes to see who would become the fastest runner on the team. The team ended the day with popsicles and a mini award ceremony to celebrate the top four runners and the best group costume.

Hosting NC cross country’s (XC) first home race August 19, XC continues its season following the Hoya two-mile meet with the intra-squad relays. The intra-squad relays take place for the team to build a strong bond with one another by cheering on their teammates as they race. The team dressed up in exciting costumes to see who would win the title of best group costume to alleviate the tension and start the season on a positive note. This season, magnet sophomores Cassidy Lumpkin, Kennedi Tolbert, Grace Amah and junior Sienna Bennett dressed up as the notorious “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and won the title of the best group costume for the 2023 season. The fastest runners revealed themselves at the end of the relays. 

For this race, a veteran member paired up with a newer member and each took turns racing 1000 meters until both completed it four times. The two runners who won first place in the intra-squad relays included freshman Ethan Githinji and Mariah Brisbane. Second-place runners included magnet sophomore Jed Ngugi and magnet freshman Vaughn Thomas; these runners received medals for their achievements. While not everybody could make first place, each runner did their best to finish the course with a positive mindset and with proud friends, families and especially proud coaches. 

“I think the race went pretty well, I think people did their best and had a bit of fun with it. Our course is pretty difficult and we pushed ourselves a lot so it was exhausting, but in a way that makes us better,” Lumpkin said.

While achieving the title of fastest runner creates a great motivator for any athlete, encouragement from teammates becomes beneficial for their success. This allows the runners to build strong bonds with one another and build a community that shares the same love they do through the sport. 

“I definitely think that a better teammate bond strengthens our team. Part of running and being motivated is having people cheer you on and make the experience a shared one. Part of [the] motivation is being able to enjoy what you do, and having a community is important to that,” Lumpkin said.

The intra-squad relays play a part in strengthening the team’s bond. Because each runner paired up with somebody they likely did not know, it became a place where they could build new friendships and learn about each other.

Because intra-squad relays take place as the second race of the season, the XC team sets high expectations for the remainder of their meets. Each runner wants to beat their personal record, but other runners pursue more complex goals they want to meet before the end of the ‘23 season. Magnet senior Ndiya Onuoha produced a determined mindset to run a 5K in under 21 minutes to finish off her last year on the team. 

“Last year, our girls placed second in [the] region and qualified for state. The boys were fifth in [the] region and just missed qualifying for state. The goal would be to improve on last year’s performance in region, and to get both sides to state this year,” head coach John Huff said. 

No matter the placement in a race or the ranking in a silly costume contest, the XC team will embody a bright future ahead of them with the dedication and hard work these athletes put into each race. 

“I got involved because I’m a runner and loved the sport. The motivation now comes from seeing athletes set goals and accomplish them. Seeing a runner get a time that they never thought themselves capable of, that’s good stuff,” Huff said. 

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Mackenzie Blanco
Mackenzie Blanco, Reporter
Mackenzie Blanco, a magnet sophomore at NC, joined The Chant because of her love for writing and hopes it will better her writing skills. Ever since a little girl, she has admired writing stories to release her creative thoughts and steadfast opinions. Blanco enjoys being part of the Color Guard at NC, baking delicious treats, going on hikes and attending her youth group gatherings. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, reading books and venturing out with her dog, Chico. During school, Blanco is involved in clubs, including Beta Club, FCA and Collective Hope. Blanco hopes that The Chant brings her the inspiration to make an impact on the world with her writing.

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