The Paw Print

Middle school cross country: up and running

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Middle school cross country: up and running

Eighth graders Mary Catharine Rechtien and Milan Mastin goof off during a cross country meet at Turner High School.

Eighth graders Mary Catharine Rechtien and Milan Mastin goof off during a cross country meet at Turner High School.

Eighth graders Mary Catharine Rechtien and Milan Mastin goof off during a cross country meet at Turner High School.

Eighth graders Mary Catharine Rechtien and Milan Mastin goof off during a cross country meet at Turner High School.

Hannah Denne, Staff Writer

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Two years ago, the middle school cross country team was composed of only two students; now, there are 25 middle schoolers running for and representing Kansas City Christian.

Victoria Jenks joined cross country in her first year at KCC and ran alongside fellow sixth grader Malia Veer – the only other member of the team. However, having such a small team didn’t make the girls’ experience any less fun. Along with bringing the two closer together, the small group made for an all together less judgmental environment.

“I feel like some of the workouts and runs we did were really hard, especially for being in sixth grade. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do as well as I did if it wasn’t just the two of us,” eighth grader  Jenks said.

The team growth since then has been mostly due to a ripple effect, students on the team inspiring others to join. In comparison to fast-paced team sports, like volleyball, basketball, and soccer, cross country offers a more laid-back alternative.

“No one’s competing for a spot on the team, so everyone encourages everyone in their own personal accomplishments,” head coach Lisa Cowan said.

Some students, like eighth grader Mary Catharine Rechtien joined cross country to prepare for other sports, like soccer. Rechtien got more than she bargained for, though, when her first meet of the season was cut short – quite literally.

Rechtien remembers a small piece of rock being kicked up by a runner in front of her mid-meet, which cut the inside of her nose. She ended up having to be escorted out on a golf cart, covered in blood.

“I started leaving a trail of blood on the field. It was all over my legs and arms!” Rechtien laughed.

However, this does not deter her from wanting to do cross country in the future. The high school cross country team is also under the leadership of Cowan, and several eighth graders plan on continuing their running career into high school.

“It’s hard to get up in the morning and go on a run. It’s hard to stir up that motivation. We’d all rather sleep in and watch TV! Having a scheduled group to go on runs and do workouts with is good, because you know you should be getting more exercise than you are. [Cross country] gives you that motivation,” Jenks said.

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