Men’s XC Dashes to City Championships
By Sarah Kamal
The men’s cross country team at Northside is well known not only for their successful meets, but also for their dedication leading up to the running season. So far in the season, the team has been doing well with the help of their new head coach, Brian Cobb. “He’s a good coach and he definitely knows what he’s doing,” said Kris Ushijima, Adv. 910, a varsity member of the men’s cross country team. Since cross country is more of an individual sport, there is not any direct competition with any other schools, but rather with specific runners. Still, the sport is highly competitive, and pushes individuals to beat their own times and to become better runners.
Practices start at 3:45 after school when the team goes outside to warm up. After some stretching, the team goes to the North Park University track and either does a long run or speed workouts that last until around 5:30. A long run is where members of the team run for fifty to seventy minutes straight. Speed workouts consist of further distances and higher intensity levels in order to train more diligently for the upcoming meets. Because there are meets every Saturday, the team must practice every day after school to ensure that its runners are prepared to compete in the meet.
There is usually food provided at the cross country meets such as bananas, granola bars, and other small snacks. Ezra Hill, Adv. 106, a sophomore runner, wishes the team would provide a better breakfast. He believes it would help runners feel better before and after the meet, especially due to the length of the race. The freshman team runs two miles while the varsity team runs over three miles, and as such, the team knows it is extremely important to eat the right foods before races.
“The distances you have to run for track are a lot shorter, but the meets are a lot longer than the cross country ones,” Hill said. Ushijima said, “Cross country is better because you only have one race to focus on each week. Also, running through the forest has a lot better scenery compared to the standard track you have during the track season.” The other runners had similar opinions regarding cross country and track.
The team agrees that there are a couple of changes that would benefit the men’s cross country team. One thing the runners would like to change is the practice time. Since practices are held after school, it is difficult for some runners to complete their homework. “If they had practices before school instead of after, it would make it easier to get it over with and to enjoy the rest of the day,” Aaron Williams, Adv. 910, said. The runners also stated that they would like to see a uniform change as well. Currently, the team wears old uniforms: standard maroon running shorts and a white top that says “Chicago” on the front and “Northside” on the back. New uniforms should have been provided to the team, but they have not arrived yet. Hopefully, the runners will have more comfortable uniforms for the years to come.
Students who are interested in joining Men’s Cross Country should know a couple of things beforehand. Members of the varsity team confessed that the first few weeks of training in the summer are challenging, but that it gets easier as time goes on. Regular practices help to build one’s stamina and to stay in shape. Summer practices run between June and July with the occasional “pie run.” A pie run is when cross country athletes run to the shop called First Slice, located on North Manor Ave, to take a brief break and enjoy a slice of pie. Students interested in joining the team can also look forward to expanding their group of friends. “Cross Country is a great way to meet friends and it’s a pretty tight-knit community,” Williams said. The Men’s Cross Country team will be competing at the City Championships on Oct. 13 and all of Northside will be cheering them on.