“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” -Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”.

The Jesuit Cross Country Team competed in the Greenhill Luke’s Locker Six-Mile Relay on Saturday, August 26 at Norbuck Park, and in the Southlake Carroll Invitational on Saturday, September 9 at Bob Jones Park in Southlake.

One of the seniors of the varsity team, Dawson Moore ’18, ran a time of 8:09 in the Greenhill race and a time of 18:03 in the Southlake race. He reflected on his performance at the Greenhill race, saying that “I feel I ran well…but I didn’t get the time I wanted, but the team looks to have promising runners for the upcoming races.” Moore is also one of the three team captains this year, and with the label comes the responsibility of looking after the team. He acknowledged the changes of becoming a senior and a team captain, noticing how “I now begin to act as a leader now that I’m a senior which means keeping everyone confident about their race ahead and the new [Cross Country] season.”

Moore has already set goals for himself and for the team to achieve this season. He explains that his personal “goal is to try and go under 17 minutes for a 5k. For the team goals, I believe we have a real chance [at] the district meet and move on to the regional races.”

A sophomore on the team already running at varsity level, Gavin Martinez ‘20 ran an incredible time of 8:18 at Greenhill and 8:19 at Southlake. He commented on his status as a member of the varsity team, describing how “it’s motivating, to be a sophomore and [to be] one of the seven best on the team is definitely a motivation to work harder not just for myself but for the whole team and to make sure I’m not wasting this opportunity that a lot of athletes never experience.” Martinez considered his performance at Greenhill, observing that “I feel good about my performance…I knew because it was just a mile and a half…so I ran smart and used what I had left to get up the big hill at the mile mark…overall I felt like it was a great start to the season by everyone.”

Martinez ’20 also mentioned what sets the Cross Country team apart from other teams and sports, saying that it “is special because like other teams we wake up before the sun but unlike other teams we don’t wake up to run a couple miles, we wake up to push each other, to be the best we can be…as brothers we have the responsibility to take care of each other and pick each other up when we’re down.”

Coach Robinson, the head coach of the Cross Country team, reflected on the overall achievements of the runners at Greenhill. He recalled how “I am encouraged by our team’s efforts…I saw most of the team members set new personal records. Also, it gave the guys their first taste of competition.” The team performed with quick times and high places, but the runners faced many challenges during the relay race. Coach Robinson touched on some of these hardships, saying that “Since only the first relay runner starts even with all other team’s lead-off runners, it makes the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th runners either start ahead or behind other team’s incoming runners. That often leads to those 2 through 4 runners not having a sense of pace and going out too fast or too slow initially.”

Coach Robinson recognized the strengths of the runners of the team so far in the season, explaining how “these runners see no limits to their progress. They continue to put in the training and continue to grow and mature as runners, teammates, and as men for others.” He also mentioned how this team is different from other sports teams and what people may overlook about the runners. He indicated that “what many miss is just how competitive our guys are and how together our team is. This sport tests one’s [mentality]. Our guys are fierce competitors, and they continually push and support each other. ‘Iron sharpens iron’.”

Another sophomore of the team as a JV runner, Asher Smith ‘20 ran at a personal best time of 8:35 at Greenhill and a time of 19:12 at Southlake. He recognized his performance with positivity, noting that “I’m hopeful for the season…It’s a great start to see where I need to work on and to improve.” Smith created personal goals for the current cross country season and shared what ways he wants to become stronger. He explained how he plans “to improve every race. Improvement shows learning and experience along with training. If I improve every race, I’ll know I’m getting better and better.”

During the season, the team has pasta dinners outside of school before every race to help strengthen the bond between the runners. Smith commented on his view of the closeness and brotherhood of the team, acknowledging that “team bonding improves performance by the unanimous desire to succeed and [go] beyond. We push each other to go harder and push limits or simply be someone to run with.”

Overall, the beginning of the Jesuit Cross Country season has been positive and the team has a bright outlook on the future. Martinez ’20 noticed the bond between each individual runner as special, saying that “we’ve grown close enough within a short time to call each other brothers and when you see your brother struggling, you love him enough to pick him up…We’re not special because we’re talented, we’re special because we use our talents to [help] each other, to be men for others.”

The team competes in the Lovejoy Fall Classic on Saturday, September 23 at the Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney. Come out and cheer on your fellow Rangers!

 

Ethan O'Neill '20
Ethan is a writer for The Roundup and is a runner for the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. He is part of Medical Society and Campus Ministry. In his free time, Ethan likes to run, listen to music, and play the piano.
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