The Oracle

Filed under SPORTS

Middle school cross country team reflects on ‘perseverance,’ ‘bonding’ as season ends

Sixth grader Sofia Cianciolo runs in the Finals of middle school cross country. The Panthers ended the season in fourth place and had three girls come in the top five of the separate sixth grade race.

Photo credit: Marlee Rice

Sixth grader Sofia Cianciolo runs in the Finals of middle school cross country. The Panthers ended the season in fourth place and had three girls come in the top five of the separate sixth grade race.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Amelia Mathis, middle school cross country coach, stood at the bottom of a large hill during the final meet of the cross country season at Kenneth Hahn Park, waiting for her team members to come over the crest.

“Looking at their faces, and the determination that they had — they were sprinting so fast and using everything that we learned throughout the season,” Mathis said.  “And I felt like that was the moment in which they overcame any fear they had about the course and I think that’s why they were able to perform the way that they did.”

Ultimately, Archer’s middle school cross country team came in fourth place in the final meet and had three sixth graders place within the top five of individual sixth grade races.

However, team members said that the most valuable part of the experience was the chance to bond with their teammates.

“Physically it is really challenging, but the friends you make in it… it’s worth it,” Remi Cannon (’24), one of two team captains, said.

The captains also said that it is difficult for a sport such as cross country to compete with “team sports” that occur at the same time, such as volleyball and swim.

“When I was in sixth grade, 10 people tried out for cross country, and then they stopped because they realized it was at the same time as swim and volleyball,” co-captain Natasha Speiss (’23) said. 

Speiss said that despite cross country being seen as an independent sport, “people are still super supportive.”

“As you’re running, it’s just encouraging to see that there’s somebody on your team who’s supporting you and who wants you to do well,” Speiss said. 

Despite the “difficulty” of cross country, Mathis said that all team members fostered an “excitement” for the sport.

“Those girls came out and they came together and were ready to run,” Mathis said. “[There] was just a general joy for running, which we don’t get very often.”

Speiss emphasized the “perseverance” needed to be a cross country runner.

“In [the park] when you’re running, it’s uphill a lot, there’s a big loop, and…you can see people crossing the finish line,” she said. “And it seems so easy to just give up, because you’re tired, you don’t really want to be doing it towards the end of the race…but you have to keep on running. If you are motivated…you really stick it out, then you do better than the people who [think] ‘I’m just going to finish it’ and then collapse.”

The runners also described one of the team’s greatest strengths: how “open-minded” they were.

“I think it’s all about keeping that open mindset and knowing that as long as you try your hardest, that’s enough,” Cannon said.

Mathis also noticed a shift in mindset, noting that the runners became more confident in their abilities.

“[There was a] shift from ‘I’m not sure if I can’ to ‘I know I can,'” Mathis said. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Rio Hundley, Staff Writer

Rio Hundley wrote her first article for the Oracle in 2017, as a culture correspondent. She is very excited to be joining this year as a staff writer....

Leave a Comment

As members of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Oracle welcomes reader comments and debate. We encourage community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, we do allow anonymous comments as long as they are respectful, relevant, and abide by Archer’s Responsible Use Policy. Comments are moderated, but not edited, and will appear once approved.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The student news site of The Archer School for Girls