Runners develop life skills and create team bonds

With the global pandemic, the sports world has changed in many ways. Still, the Girls Cross Country team continues to overcome challenges.

Head Coach Cari Mills said, “Practices still run like they normally would, but kids are required to wear their mask around the track.” 

Even without a mask, running five to 10 miles every practice can be no easy task.

The Girls Cross Country team has continuously broken personal records; freshman varsity runner Kylie Vogel shaved one minute and 43 seconds to set a new personal record.

The many skills developed from cross country can lead to success on the track and in life.

“Cross country is mentally a tough sport. It’s something that helps you learn skills for life, mental strength and discipline,” Mills said..

Running can be tough on athletes; despite this many athletes have grown fond of the sport.

“Running is a great way to destress after a hard day and shake the day off, it also helps reflect on the day,” Mills said. 

“I have been racing my whole life,  many true runners like me can’t go a day without running and think, ‘I got to run,’” she said.

While the pandemic has altered traditional classes, clubs and school activities, the mutual love for running can bring people together.

“Cross country is a great way to bond with people. It helped me to meet many new people who also like to run. We all try to help and motivate one another to continue during our runs,” Vogel said.

Although skill and technique may serve as factors for an athlete’s success in any sport, experiencing doubt about performance can lead to mistakes and possible loss.

Mills said she works to correct techniques of a runner and build the runner’s confidence.

Mills said, “Each kid is different; you have to approach them differently. I try to encourage them to believe in themselves and feel confident to continue and stay in the race. … I always tell the team, “We are only as strong as our weakest link.” 

The next meet for the Girls Cross Country team will be at Plainfield North on Oct. 10 at 9:00 am.