“Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually it passes and the flow returns. It’s part of racing.” (Frank Shorter)
At Norbuck Park on October 12th, the Jesuit Cross Country team raced in the District 9-6A Championships. The JV team came in third place and the varsity team came in second place.
One of the JV runners, Andrew Wright ‘18, receiving a time of 19:26 and an overall placing of 15, commented on performance at the District race, saying that although “my time was not what I was looking for, I still felt like I gave it my all…maybe heat was a factor to my slower than usual time, but because I realized that this was likely my last race, I wanted to leave it all out there, and I’m satisfied with having done that.”
As a senior, Wright focused on giving everything into his last race and finishing the season on a good note. He explained his mindset for District and for all of the races during the season, describing how “this is my last year of running cross country, so…I focused on making sure I was giving 110% at every practice and meet because I know there’s no next year for me.
Wright also acknowledged the bond that has been strengthen between him and his teammates over the course of the season, recognizing how “the friends that I made on this team have become my best friends during my high school life…I feel like I have especially bonded with the underclassmen during this season. I’m definitely going to miss this team when it’s all said and done.”
Jacob Bartkoski ‘19, running for the varsity team with a time of 18:16 and coming in 20th place overall, recalled his performance during the race. He noticed how he “did pretty well overall. I ran faster than the week before at the Classic which was the exact same course. I’m also happy with our second place finish, allowing us to go to [regionals].” As one of the three team captains this season, Bartkoski’s approach to the team and the sport has changed “because my goal is to motivate everyone else on the team rather than just myself.”
Another member of the varsity team, Nick Farrell ‘19 came in 16th place overall in the District race. He reflected on the race and his time of 18:04, illustrating that “even though I didn’t PR, I’m satisfied…it was a hard course and the toughest race I’ve run so far. Most of us finished very close to each other, and I think we have potential to have a strong finish at Regionals.” Farrell commented on the practices, comparing last year’s workouts to this year’s workouts, saying that “last year I was struggling to break 20 [minutes]. The paces I am running this year are still new to me, especially after my improvement during this past summer, and I’m working hard to keep improving my speed.”
Farrell looked towards the upcoming Regionals race and explained his expectations for it. He acknowledged how “it’s a lot of pressure, and I feel nervous. Since we ran the course two years ago for a regular season meet, I know what to expect from it. The atmosphere of the regional meet is completely new to me, as I’ve never really competed with some of the best runners in the state.”
Coach Robinson expressed his view on the race and the team’s performance, noting that “I’m pleased with the team’s performance…We finished 2nd behind Coppell, but we narrowed the gap since the beginning of the year. The guys challenged themselves to greater goals at District and it paid off.” He pointed out some strengths that he saw in the runners during District and strengths that developed in the team over the course of the season. He acknowledged how “our guys stepped up their game at District…they challenged themselves to go beyond their comfort zones in the race…Once our guys got a taste of how much they were improving, they set their sights on bigger performances. Regionals will be a great race to see how much more our team can improve.”
Henry Domine ‘21, a freshman competing with varsity, came in 7th place overall and ran a time of 17:15. He remarked on his performance in the District meet and what it was like to race on varsity as a freshman, saying that “I felt very good about my performance, I cut needed seconds off my time from the [J]esuit [C]lassic. My strategy of hanging with the leaders as much as possible worked very well…It feels amazing to race as a freshman on varsity. I am happy that I could contribute to my team as a freshman.”
Domine explained some of the challenges that he faced during the cross country season. He mentioned how “with the in-season improvement from week to week…it [has] been hard to compare courses and times, and trying to keep a positive attitude after [a not-so-great] race, and also [to] keep striving to push myself each practice [is a challenge].”
As the cross country season comes to a close, the varsity team moves on to Regionals. Coach Robinson discussed what the team could improve on or strengthen for Regionals, that they want “to keep the focus on slightly higher goals than district, run as a tight unit keeping all runners within 30 seconds of first to last, and finish what they started. If we do that we will perform our best at the right time.”