New cross country head coach Massey aims to unify team

Former+NC+alumna+Sarah+Massey+and+now+head+cross+country+coach+discusses+runners%27+performance+with+Coach+Huff.+

Kat Shambaugh

Former NC alumna Sarah Massey and now head cross country coach discusses runners' performance with Coach Huff.

In the first week of June, the beginning of their summer practice, NC’s cross country team changed drastically in introducing their new head coach, Zoology teacher Sarah Massey. Massey is a former North Cobb alumna and a three time All-American runner returning to North Cobb to lead NC’s cross country squad to new heights.

Coach Massey took over for Mr. Stephenson, beloved former head coach, who stepped down at the end of last season because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

When asked why she decided to come back, Massey replied, “I knew the community here was so great, and not just the community in the school but outside as well, and the success of the school was something I couldn’t pass up, so I definitely wanted to be involved.”

Cross country runners prepare for their next race by completing time trials.
Kat Shambaugh
Cross country runners prepare for their next race by completing time trials.

Massey began cross country in her junior year of high school after one of her best friends changed her mind about her misconceptions about the sport: “I thought running three miles as fast as you could was ridiculous, but for two years she talked my ear off, and then I wanted to try out for a sport and I decided to go for cross country because it fit my schedule.”

She continued running in college, making All-American (top 6 in track or top 30 in cross country) three times.

From her experience, she set high goals for the current season. “We definitely want to make it to State. Ideally, the top 5 at State for the boys would be a great goal. For the girls team, I would like to go to State and a great goal would be to get anywhere under 15th place. But not only the competitive side of it, I also want them to realize that running is something that you can do forever, and it drives you to make yourself uncomfortable and I think that occurs in life too.”

Cross country team members had all summer to adjust to the new coach, and they bonded through the long, hot runs and daily practices.

Returning sophomore runner Malhea Smith said, “She’s very energetic, and I like how she is trying to connect varsity and subvarsity to help us train.”

Cross country is one of the only sports in which the coaches participate in the sport with the team, and one of the team’s veterans and stellar runners junior Riley O’Neill possesses high praise for their new leader: “I love how [Coach Massey] wants us to win and is still insanely positive even though she pushes us and herself really hard.”

Coach Massey discusses results and goals for future performance.
Kat Shambaugh
Coach Massey discusses results and goals for future performance.

Keep an eye out for our cross country Warriors, as they will be training under a new coach to succeed to the best of their ability.

“You have to find what moves you, and I think Cross Country does that. I think in life and in school you have to find a lot of motivation inside yourself, and cross country kind of refines that and helps you find something that you can control, when high school can be a lack of control. I would say come to cross country to find your focus, your family, and your freedom,” Massey says.

For more information on North Cobb’s Cross Country team, visit  http://www.northcobbcrosscountry.org/.