Middle school cross county ends undefeated season with championship win

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Photo credit: Kim Smith

The middle school cross country team poses with their championship plaque after their win. In a history making season, the team remained undefeated in their league meets and finished the season with a championship win. “It was fun” sixth grader Camille Chi said. “It was challenging, but I think it was really, really worth it.”

By Grace Doyle, Sports Editor

They are the champions: middle school cross country finished their undefeated season with a championship win. This is the first time in Archer’s history where a middle school cross country team has gone both undefeated and won a championship. From afterschool practices to a historical win, the team reflected back on the season.

Sophie Cousens is a seventh grader on the team. She looked back at the hard work that lead up to the victorious season.

“It was hard, especially for me. I’m not usually a runner,” Cousens said. “[It was] the first time for me to come onto a running team, commit and go there every day I possibly can. It was pretty good. It was a lot.”

Beau Cartwright is another seventh grader on the running squad. When thinking about the season and team as a whole, the theme of community stood out, Cartwright said.

“No one else feels the struggle except the other people on the team,” Cartwright said. “Everyone on the cross country team — not only our team but the other teams — is super nice. It’s just a great community to be in.”

Camille Chi, a sixth grade cross country athlete, also alluded to the “struggle” that Cartwright brought up. She noted the “rough workouts” that eventually lead the team to a win. However, it was the team atmosphere she said she especially loved.

“I love everyone,” Chi said. “They’re all really fun. They’re all bubbly. They’re all happy.”

The Pacific Basin League (PBL) finals took place in Cheviot Hills on Nov. 4. Teams that Archer has competed against throughout the season were in attendance and included Wildwood School, Windward School, Westchester Lutheran School, Calvary Christian School, Crossroads School, Geffen Academy, Westside Neighborhood School and Turning Point School. Carwrite said the win was a product of the team’s hard work.

“We were really happy,” Cartwright said. “We have a lot of great people on our team, and we worked really hard this season.”

The moments after the team found out about their win consisted of shock and a lot of screaming, Cousens said.

We were really happy. We have a lot of great people on our team and we worked really hard this season.”

— Beau Cartwright

“It was exciting because we had not only won first place for everything else, but we also won league meets,” Cousens said. “So, it just felt really good to get the final win and to work up to there.”

Coach Dalila Tolbert lead the team to victory with coach Crispin Houston. She also felt the effects of the team win.

“[My] heart dropped to my stomach, and I was so happy for all the athletes,” Tolbert said. “And I was happy for the coaches, as well, because we worked so hard.”

Calling this season a “spectacular experience,” Chi said she loved her time on the cross country team. She said that in the moments after the win, there was a lot of excitement.

“We were all happy. I’m pretty sure we all jumped and screamed,” Chi said. “We were so happy because it would be really disappointing if we won all three other meets then lost this one.”

When asked what was one word that encompasses the season as a whole, Tolbert along with Houston said “ascension.”  There was positive progression all ending in a championship win, Houston said.

“It [meant] they stayed committed and [were] determined [in] finishing what they started,” Tolbert said. “They worked very hard at practice. Cross country is a hard sport anyway. … They actually did it with no complaints. That shows a lot of good character and how hard they’re working.”