Sports can be a big part of middle school. Cross Country is an activity a lot of people may not be familiar with. At Cross Country our school has many runners. As the middle school season ended. Four students continued to run. Adrienne Harris and Landon Fernandez, seventh graders, and Lilly Burgin and Malcolm Robertson, eighth graders went to Lexington for state.
Ever since the middle school season came to a close, the seventh and eighth grade “play ups” continue to get high school Varsity experience. A normal middle race is roughly 2 miles. But in high school the distance everyone runs is a 5K (3.1 miles) for each race. Mr. Brian Alessandro, varsity coach, said, “We have been progressing and dropping times. I’d say that the colder temperatures this year have helped that.” When runners run in the heat, they usually slow down noticeably. The cold has been of aid to the runners.
In the end there is no real algorithm to which person runs for state. “It’s just based on time. They had the fastest times including Highlands High School students,” said Coach Alessandro. When a seventh or eighth grader does exceptionally well in middle school races, they are usually given a shot at a JV race. If a runner does well, they continue running high school. Not very many people can run a 20-minute 5K without experience.
Competing in Cross Country races takes training and practice to get the hang of running for a long period of time. “I started running cross country in the second grade,” said Fernandez. Others only started last year. It just depends on if they work hard at practice, on workout days, and on easy runs. “Go for distance, not time,” said Coach Alessandro. When people jog for a long distance, they build up a tolerance so that in races they can go faster for a short distance.
At the Kentucky State competition, all of the runners finished with times under 23 minutes. The girls ended up in third overall. The boys took home the fourth-place trophy. Coach Alessandro was extremely proud of the Birds and hopes for another great season next year. “I’m excited for next season to see what can do, but for now just do what’s best for you. Run your hardest. There are no expectations,” said Mr. Alessandro.