—Christian Clark, PR—
With football, basketball, and volleyball sharing the spotlight at Cosby High, there is one sport that seems to be misunderstood. While some confuse it with track, Cosby’s Cross Country team infuses some of the brightest individuals with the most important physical, mental, and social attributes of being an elite high school athlete. No ball, no helmet, just you and your body. This is Cross Country.
In most JV or Varsity sports, several talented athletes have to deal with the dreaded “Cut Day”. No matter the talent level, Cross Country is one of the few sports that gives anyone who is willing to work, a spot on the team. Just ask varsity sensations Grant Northcutt and Dylan Moore. “If you are a part of the team, you have to give your best effort, whether you are the fastest or the slowest,” says Moore. “It’s a sport I enjoy and I don’t like to put anyone else down,” explained Northcutt. “I like to compete but be a good competitor at the same time.”
Think XC is easy? Don’t tell freshman Kenadee Horton. “They should try doing it themselves. Some say it’s only 3.1 miles, it’s easy. It’s a lot harder than people expect.” “Other sports, you can take breaks and rest but in Cross Country, you have to keep a strong mind”, added teammate Chase Smith.
Although Cross Country uses virtually every muscle, it’s not just the physical aspect that keeps the runners on their toes.“Not only is it a physical sport, but it is mental a lot of the time too,” says freshman Faith Bush. “Honestly, Cross Country is an all-around sport.” If you don’t have the mental capacity, then your physical capacity is worth nothing,” added freshman Tre Jackson. In addition to the mental game, battling the elements has also shown to be a challenge. “I’ve had many practices where it’s the grueling heat and the stress of the workout that makes it difficult”, says Clayton Sykes.
Running involves discipline before, during, and after workouts. It’s no secret that every second is crucial for these runners. Northcutt is well aware of how to maximize off time. “Ice bathing, protein bars, and taking supplements can keep your body healthy.” Meanwhile, a cool glass of H20 isn’t a bad idea either. “Cross Country is really strict in terms of what you need to do to keep your body healthy,” warned Moore. “If you don’t drink enough water, it really shows. You will hit a wall and you’ll know that’s why.” Still wondering if you can survive a workout? “Go run five miles straight,” says freshman Michael Swan.
If Cross Country is this difficult, why isn’t the respect there? Junior Nick Schram believes there needs to be a change. “You see Lightning Legion go out to football games but we don’t see them at meets. We even had our first track meet here (at Cosby). You see football players in the hallways getting congratulations and they look at Cross Country people through the halls and they don’t say anything.”
With all this said, many runners at Cosby’s Fall Sports pep rally were stoked to finally be recognized in front of the entire student body. “I think (the respect) has gotten better because we were able to walk (at the Pep Rally). People need to recognize that there is a lot more to Cross Country then just running in circles”, says Sykes. Freshman Ailissa Anderson could not agree more. “Just being down there at the pep rally and having everyone know that I represent the school was pretty cool.”
While recognition is still a work in progress, these athletes, respect or not, understand what it means to be a Cosby Titan Athlete. “It means I’m part of something bigger than myself,” says senior Carter Groh. “Every time you step onto the grass, you are representing Cosby, you’re representing the Cross Country team, you’re representing your family, and you’re representing yourself,” explained Jackson.
In the words of Grant Northcutt, “It’s not a running club, it’s a sport and in my opinion, the hardest sport there is to offer.”