Cross Country’s Journey to the Finish Line
October 6, 2021
As Fair Grove’s school year rolls around, 15 to 20 Fair Grove Cross Country athletes gather for a mind-grueling sport in the dead heat of an ending summer and the cold beginnings of fall.
This year’s Cross Country team is led by none other than Jalen Supancic, who also takes part as one of Fair Grove’s teacher staff. He has been coaching cross country for two years, both of them being at Fair Grove.
There is no doubt that the Cross Country athletes have been active. Supancic explained, “A normal practice can consist of basic mileage running to hard workouts. Furthermore, most of our athletes run anywhere from three to six miles on a normal day, longer days approaching seven to eight miles for some runners.”
Cross Country takes a lot of mental toughness to “put one foot in front of the other” to reach the finish line. Lauren Thomlinson (11) said, “To prepare, I listen to music to get focused before I run. Cross country can be mentally draining and you just have to stay ‘in the zone’ while you’re running” The team brings the willpower they need, Lauren explains, “On average, we run 12 – 15 miles a week.”
The team has just recently completed one of the season’s most difficult meets: Hermitage Invitational Meet (9/25). The athletes expressed that the large hills and rough terrains of the track makes it difficult to run on. Supancic remarked, “When we started to prepare for the Hermitage race it looked a lot like most of our preps. We spent extra time talking about how to approach certain running scenarios and how to run curves and hills on difficult races.”
It is a long road down the line to districts, Supancic and his team of athletes have already started strategizing for it. Supancic continued, “We have been comparing times with other district competitors who we will run against later down the line. We have been figuring out how to pace and stretch our times to surpass theirs.”
This is only the beginning of the Fair Grove Cross Country season. They have proven to put in the work, now they need to execute the willpower to cross the finish line of district finals.