Cross Country Appreciation


Leilani Love, A&E Editor

Too…much…running! At least that’s what most Pres students would say when someone brings up the topic of cross country. Here at Pres, our runners devote a great amount of time and energy to their sport. Cross country takes an immense amount of mental and physical strength to endure, but doesn’t always get the recognition that it deserves.

When you think of Pres students who enjoy running the amount that they do every day, you may wonder, How does one even have the energy after hours of school to run like five miles? And morning practices at 5:45am?! I’m good. Pres cross country runners shared their opinions on the sport and how they stay motivated.

One of the main objections to joining the cross country team is just the sheer amount of time they spend running around San Jose. And sophomore Gianna Mendoza confirmed that they definitely wear out their shoes: “We practice Monday to Saturday, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. In terms of miles, some days we run five miles and other days we’ll run up to nine or ten miles even.”

Juggling sports, school, and extracurriculars can be challenging, especially on long practice days. Getting home at 7 p.m. without having had any time to start homework or studying can be extremely stressful, but senior Paige Comiso said, “A lot of times people ask me why I run, and they kind of giggle and say ‘That’s dumb, running is hard.’ But it’s honestly a stress relief for me, and just being with my team in beautiful trails and running so many miles at a time, really reminds me to go back to nature and think about things that truly matter.”

Junior Bianca Mantovani also added, “Without cross country, I would have a lot more time, but I think I would bored. I know sometimes when we have breaks it’s nice to have a few days off, but I start to miss running, I start to miss my team, because you’re with these people every day, so by now you love it.”

She really means every day. Cross country is one of those sports that always has practices, rain or shine — well, except for maybe thunder and lightening. And that also goes for meets, which are almost every weekend during the season.

“I like [meets] a lot,” Mendoza said. “I like working together during the race. Last year during cross country, I really loved running with my friend Ally Lazar, and during track I loved running with Paige. I just love the connection that we have during the meets.”

Those connections are important to other team members as well. “My teammates motivate me a lot,” said Mantovani, “Sometimes during a workout, we’ll cheer each other on a little bit or even during races some of the other girls that aren’t racing will cheer you on because you don’t want to disappoint your team; you want to do well for them, so that we can do well as a team in general.”

Besides the camaraderie, cross country also offers the same leadership opportunities that other Pres sports do. “Being a team captain last year and this year has really taught me a lot about leadership and that being a really good role model to your team is the most important part [of being on the team],” said Comiso. “I think that being an upperclassman and showing people how to act with the team is really important.”

According to the cross country team members, the sport has taught them many lessons. “It’s definitely taught me endurance, not just physical endurance, because that’s also very useful for the sport, but also mentally; you have to be very positive for cross country, because it is really tiring and it gets hard,” Mantovani said,

She also said that, even though running is an individual sport, that she has learned a great deal about sportsmanship. “Everyone on the team, everyone that’s running the race, even from other schools, they’re all doing the same thing as you; they’re all going to feel the same going up that hill, so you kind of have a mutual respect for them after the race, even if they beat you or you beat them.”

Ultimately, though, the long runs give the team members time to bond. “My favorite part is definitely seeing my friends every day,” said Mendoza. “We always have something new to tell each other or funny stories to share.”

The sport truly does embody the idea of moving forward together as a team, because it is figuratively and literally being accomplished during the practices and meets. Comiso even said, “My teammates are, I think the most important thing about cross country. I think that having a close relationship with them makes the whole team better, physically and mentally.”