Varsity cross country ends season with accomplished goals


Photo credit: Lee Harmon

Runners speed off at one of their meets. When looking at the season as a whole, freshman Gabriella Specchierla said it was rewarding. “Cross country is such a challenging sport and it’s very tiring and to look back on all of the hard work we’ve put in and all of the miles we’ve run is really rewarding,” Specchierla said. “And just see how far we’ve come from the beginning of the season — it’s great.”

By Grace Doyle, Sports Editor

And, they’re off! Varsity cross country began their season with established goals, making it to CIF preliminaries, and finished by being able to check all of them off the list. After reflecting over the past four months, athletes and their coach highlighted the hard work, perseverance and accomplishments of the team.

Senior Lauren Robson was the cross country captain and four year veteran. At the beginning of the season, she said that a goal from last season was to make it to CIF prelims, which they ended up doing.

“Our season was good. We trained a lot starting in August. We had practices during the week and then on Saturday, and I think it really made us prepared for all of our meets,” Robson said. “At League Finals, we came in second, which was a huge accomplishment, and then qualified for CIF prelims where we completed our season. Looking back, overall, it’s been a very successful season.”

Gabriella Specchierla is a freshman on the team. It was her first time competing for high school after being on the middle school cross country team as well as her first experience at CIF prelims.

“It was my fust time going to Mt. SAC, so it was definitely a huge convention,” Specchierla said. “Everyone’s there. It was a very fun experience to see all the different teams and be able to run at Mt. SAC. It’s like a rite of passage.”

Making it to CIF prelims was a goal that the team accomplished after four months of training and practicing six days a week.

“It felt like a huge accomplishment,” Robson said. “You have to do really well, and really make it to CIF prelims, and I think it just showed how much all of our hard work paid off. And to be competing against some of the best schools in the state — it was just a really cool experience.”

Ena Leufroy is the head coach of varsity cross country. She said that the athletes worked hard throughout the season, especially coming off the challenges of COVID-19.

“It was a very positive season, especially with them coming back from COVID. They all decided to put in hard work,” Leufroy said. “At the beginning of the year it’s always a shock to get back into [having to] to go to practice and manage all of [my] school work, and over the first few weeks they slowly got right back into the rhythm of things, and definitely stayed very positive throughout the whole season.”

Along with making it to CIF prelims, Specchierla said that teamwork was also an impactful part of her season.

“Having the whole teamwork aspect, being able to get closer to people who you are in your grades,  push each other and grow in that sense, was a really meaningful part of the season,” Specchierla said. “I think we all really enjoyed being able to push each other and work together, which kind of distracts from the running part of it and makes us more of a team.”

When asked what was one word she would use to describe their season, Leufroy said “perseverance”. She said the team made a collective effort to adjust to the time and experience lost.

“Coming back from COVID it’s hard to get back into the things, and then also, you’re not used to training … They pushed through everything being different and then everything going to back being the same. It was nice to watch,” Leufroy said.

As it is her last season, Robson spoke to the excitement she has for the future of the team and also reflected on her four years with Archer cross country.

“This season has been a culmination of my four years of cross country and to be surrounded by a new, young team is really exciting,” Robson said. “And to know that the success is going to continue with the members that are already on the team and the new freshmen that are going to join — it’s really exciting for me. And I’m just so happy that I got to spend this last season with such a great team and make everlasting memories.”