Begin as a Team

Finish as a Family

Olivia Cooper, JP student writer

North Polk Cross Country team posing after home meet, whether it is pink face paint, pink head bands, or pink apparel everyone is decked out for Breast Cancer Awareness. The team has made it a tradition to wear pink at the home meet each year.
Seniors’ gathered together on the track after being announced for the annual senior night.

It feels like just yesterday, the first practice was starting for the North Polk Cross Country team, as the last couple weeks of the season are coming to an end the team reflects but continues to look ahead. A three month season full of goal setting, achievements, fun times, and at moments pain and exhaustion. 

For some, cross country has been a way to socialize and make new friends while staying involved, and for others, it is time to show talent and work hard to improve. Whether a freshman or a senior, the team has enjoyed each other’s presence and became more than just a team, a family.

Senior, Will Lesher says, “A highlight has been the great team chemistry and all of the fun the entire team has had together.” The team experienced fun moments through different activities such as capture the flag, the Big Dog workout, bus rides, team dinners, and many other events that happened during the season. 

Coaching cross country for now 21 years, Steve Leach gives the runners’ another season and is eager to see the team compete at Districts and State. Looking back on the last months of the season Leach relished the moment when the varsity boy’s won the conference and the varsity girl’s won their home meet. 

“The opportunity to get something out of kids that they may not know they have,” explainedo]

Leach when asked what he enjoyed most about coaching cross country. Leach looks forward to every season and watching the runners improve and develop, and seeing the positive attitudes through the workouts. 

Boy’s and Girl’s varsity will compete in Spencer for their District’s meet on Oct. 21 the team is looking forward to seeing how they perform and represent the school. Running under more pressure the runners continue to practice and focus on the meets coming up.

Freshman, varsity runner, Alik MacIlravy will participate in his first-ever high school District meet,  what he looks the most forward to, “seeing what we as a team can do with our talents.” 

The Junior Varsity runners’ competed in their last race on October 12, with the meets over for them, they reflect on their season. For some, it was their last ever cross country meet as well as the season as a Comet. Many feeling the emotion of the season coming to an end, and others realizing how much they improved. 

For Janie Walters, a senior expresses how she is feeling about the season coming to an end, “I am really sad the season is over because the Cross Country team is a really good group of high schoolers that I will miss, but hope to continue a friendship with most of them. I will not miss running every day, but I will miss how everyone pushed me as a runner throughout the year.” 

And, for those freshmen that transitioned into running a full 5k, compared high school to middle school cross country. Grant Aspengren explains how his experience on the high school team was different than the middle school team, “High school XC is better because you get to form relationships with an upperclassman that will last longer than a single season.” 

Whether you’ve been coaching for 21 years, a freshman that has never run before; competitively, or a senior crossing the finish line as a Comet for the last time, the cross country season was full of many memories. However, for some of the runners, the chance to qualify for state is the next uphill that they need to conquer. The end of a sport’s season for some is challenging and emotional, for others’ it is a time to rest and look back on all the achievements that were reached.