Cross Country: Sprinting to Success


Rhea Rohr, Editor-in-Chief

Is metaphorically running away from your problems just not doing it for you anymore? Consider running for Cross Country instead.

Cross Country is a great way to get in shape and make friends. Participants bond with teammates in races, practices, and even pasta parties. If you’re considering joining, preseason is over summer break, and the actual season starts at the beginning of the year.

Training goes as follows:

The boys team working out

Mondays are high intensity interval training, or HIIT. Tuesdays are running distances as quickly as possible, and are generally four to six miles. Wednesdays are either races or more intense workouts. Thursdays are the same as Tuesdays, and Fridays are miscellaneous. Saturdays are generally joined by smaller groups of people, and they work on distance. While it is indeed a good amount of running, they also focus on strength training and stretching.

Hayden Estrella, a junior, is the varsity captain, in charge of organization, motivation, advice, and leading workouts. He has been running for two and a half years, only taking breaks between track and cross country. For the last two years, Hayden has participated in summer running camps that also taught him about diet training. The cross country races are 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, and Hayden said his best time was 18:20 while he was injured. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

The team has meets on Wednesday, and Friday or Saturday. On Wednesdays, they only compete against one or two teams. “I just kind of think of them as practice meets,” Hayden said. On the weekends, three or four teams participate, which is a little more challenging. Cross country also runs in invitationals, which has over 100 teams. There are roughly 150 to 200 people in each race.

Girls Cross Country

Varsity is separated by gender, and has seven people for each half. Varsity is allowed to go to sectionals. To make it to state, the runners have to rank in the top 50%. Unfortunately, most of Sahuaro’s team did not make it this year. In fact, they scored last out of the fourteen teams due to the event occurring right after fall break; no one was really on their game for the race, and the girls only had one racer. Hope McDuffie, a sophomore, was the only varsity runner for the girls, but she was also the only member of Sahuaro’s cross country team to make it to state. She ran on Saturday, November 4, but does not yet know her ranking.

The highlights for most members of the team are the pasta parties. These generally occur before the dual meets (Wednesdays), and they serve spaghetti and occasionally soda. The parties are a great way to get to know the team better and just relax before the meets.

Adrian Beenken, a sophomore, is a member of the junior varsity team. This is his first year participating, and he already sometimes practices with the varsity team. He said the JV team isn’t very different, though the workouts are easier and they don’t run in sectionals. One of his favorite moments was during a practice when he told everyone he had a surprise. The next day, he whipped out a harmonica and began to play while running. He said it was funny and unexpected, but it hurt his lungs.

Cross country is a great experience if you are looking to get in shape or just make a great new group of friends. Consider joining cross country next year!