Running For Time

Boys’ and girls’ cross country runners shared their feelings leading up to semi-state and state competitions


With both girls and boys finishing up in the top three spots at the state championship this past month, North’s cross country teams have successfully upheld their strong reputation once again. However, this achievement came from considerable preparation by both teams, who were inspired by the success of previous runners to practice more and train harder. Prior to competing at state, senior girls’ cross country runner Abby Jacobi discussed her thoughts on the source of her motivation to perform her best. “I think that the reputation we have at North is something I take pride in that I’m a part of, so I just want to go out there and every time that I run and make sure that I’m doing my best,” Jacobi said. Others, such as senior boys’ cross country runner Matt Newell, believed that this reputation created an expectation for a cross country runner’s behavior. “In terms of performance, there’s not really a certain standard where you’re meant to perform to a certain level,” Newell said. “In terms of culture, how we carry ourselves and how hard we train, there’s always going to be this idea that you’re supposed to work your hardest and do your best and apply yourself, and that’s just what’s always stuck with the team and what it represents.” The work ethic of a cross country runner applies to all events, whether a team member is running or not. Freshman boys’ cross country runner Evan Bense noticed this while traveling to away meets. “We have quiet bus rides and we try to be the best team there, not just running wise, but through behavior and setting a good example,” Bense said. “People look up to us because we’re state champions.” Bense’s faith in the boys’ cross country team was supported by the combination of experienced runners and dedication to improving every detail before competing at state. “This year we have a really experienced team, lots of good seniors and juniors, we have a lot of depth,” Bense said. “This year we’re just really focusing on doing the little things right.” Prior to competing, Newell expressed his assurance of victory for his team at both the semi-state and state championships due to their extensive practices and meticulous training. “I felt pretty confident,” Newell said. “I had a lot of trust in my team and myself to get the work done and continue to finish out the season strong.” Confidence about performance at tournament competitions was found in the girls’ cross country team as well. Junior Julia Kiesler viewed the state competition as a true test of the team’s abilities and progress this season. “We were pretty confident going into everything. State was where we would see how far we had come,” Kiesler said. “If we ran how we were supposed to and ran how we trained then we knew we would win.” While nerves could be an obstacle for some athletes in important competitions such as semi-state, Kiesler tried to avoid this mindset prior to competing by focusing on the sport. “I tried not to think of the tournament season being more important because that made me nervous, and then when I get nervous sometimes it affects my performance,” Kiesler said. Nerves were not the only feeling leading up to tournament season. For seniors like Jacobi, these competitions were the last chances for them to run with the team. “I was excited at this point,” Jacobi said. “I know that we have a chance to go out and do something really cool this year, so I’m trying not to be nervous. I know that I’m the most prepared to run these races than I’ve ever been, so at this point I’m just trying to relax and enjoy the last few meets that I have.”