Q&A with varsity cross country captain: Sophie Larbalestier


Photo credit: Kim Smith

The varsity cross country team, including senior Sophie Larbalestier, runs during an on campus practice. Larbalestier has been running cross country since the tenth grade and is team captain this year.

Senior Sophie Larbalestier is in the middle of college admissions season, but she’s also in the middle of cross country season. The varsity cross country team has had seven meets so far and are currently in the second place of the Liberty League. At their last meet on Oct. 4, sophomore Lauren Robson came in fifth place and sophomore Abigail Houston came in seventh place in their respective races. The Oracle sat down with Larbalestier, who has been on the team since tenth grade, to discuss how she balances school with sports, how the season has gone so far and what it is like to be team captain.

How has senior year been? How does cross country fit in with senior year responsibilities? 

Sophie Larbalestier [SL]: I think senior year is going well. It can be really stressful for a lot of people with college apps, and the actual schoolwork is hard. I feel pretty good with cross country. Specifically, it helps me as a stress reliever because I get to go out and run and get that competitiveness out and then just go home and really grind on homework. Sometimes, when I go home right after school, I’ll get distracted easily or not do my work, but because I had to learn how to time manage, I can do my work in a certain amount of time. It really helps me be successful.

What do you love about cross country?

[SL]: Cross country isn’t my main sport, and I love it, but sometimes it gets hard, just like any sport. I love all the girls on my team — that’s one of my favorite things about Archer Athletics. I may not be the fastest person ever, [but] I love it because I just get to run and have fun and don’t have to think about school or stressful things. 

What feels different about this season?

[SL]: We got three new coaches who are great. Coach Mathis, who is the Assistant Director now, was our coach last year and the year before that. I think it’s a little bit more intense this year because our new coaches [ran cross country themselves]. I know Coach Mathis did athletics in college, but they all did running, so they are super intense about it, and they really like to push us hard. I’m really happy about that, but sometimes I don’t want to run eight miles, you know? I think it’s nice because now when we go to meets, we don’t feel like we are dead after. Sometimes, like last year, I finished the race and I could not walk. It was horrible. 

What’s a specific moment that stood out to you from this season so far?

[SL]: I’m injured currently. It’s not bad, [but] I couldn’t run in the meet yesterday, but I cheered on everyone. [Jessica Jimenez], who is a sophomore, she really stepped up for the team and finished in third place for our team. We are all so proud of her. I love Jessica. She really pushed hard. I usually never sit out of a race but it [was] so fun to watch your teammates do well and cheer everyone on. 

What do you want to achieve as captain? 

[SL]: I really want people to fulfill their goals. I think that’s so important. I think cross country can get negative sometimes because we are like, ‘Oh we don’t want to run seven miles’ or ‘oh-blah-blah.’ It can be hard just like in any sport, so always keeping a positive attitude about it, that’s something that we can work on too. I think team goals are super important and I really want to bond and have our team more together, like a community as our team. I think cross country people think about it as a little bit more of an individual sport, like it’s my own personal time, I have to beat these people and while your team does get an overall score, everyone feels more individual about it and I feel that same way too. Sometimes it’s hard to get us motivated, so overall just getting the spirit up.

Correction Statement (November 3, 2019, 9:51 p.m.): A previous version of this article misquoted Larbalestier as saying that cross country is her main sport. She said cross country isn’t her main sport.