Running Towards Success: Inside Northside’s Women’s Cross Country Team
By Anahi Anaya
Cross country is a sport in which runners run long distances over natural terrain. It’s a sport known to test strength, speed, and technique. Thus, runners need to make use of both their mental and physical abilities. NCP’s women’s cross country team has been successful at winning the city championships consecutively for four years. Racking up so many wins has not only brought Northside great pride, but has called attention to the hard work and dedication that the girls have put into every one of their meets.
Northside’s exceptional performance can be attributed to their practice and training. “We practice five days a week from 3:45 PM until whenever we finish our run or workout, which is usually somewhere between 5:00 - 6:00 PM,” said Erin Goldman, Adv. 911. Although practices mostly consist of running, the athletes also stretch, lift weights, and do muscle group workouts. Although the work and dedication put into the sport can be tiring, running cross country has many benefits. Physically, running is a great workout and can help one keep in shape and maintain a healthy weight. Mentally, running can help boost one’s confidence and even relieve stress, which is valuable for all Northsiders. Goldman said, “I love the thrill of racing even though I am always super nervous beforehand, but after finishing a race, you feel so good about yourself.”
Other sports can also offer the same benefits; however, there are multiple factors that distinguish cross country from them. “Not everyone is great at shooting baskets or kicking a soccer ball, but anyone can run, making cross country a super inclusive sport that anyone can join and can excel at with hard work, no matter how experienced [they are],” said Kendra Lachcik, Adv. 908. According to the team, both the men and women’s teams are managed together, which allows members of both teams to interact with and train with each other. Although people tend to think that cross country is not a team sport, Lachcik said “there is a good balance between the individual and the team, as a runner’s time is not affected by the performance of their teammates, but at the same time, a team can work together to achieve a common goal.”
Northside’s women’s cross country team is not only dedicated to working hard, but building relationships with each other and having fun. “We do some fun runs throughout the season,” said Erin Franke, Adv. 908. “We run to the lake and take a short swim midrun, we run to a pie shop and eat pie before heading back to Northside, and even occasionally go to a farmer’s market where we run through and have some great samples,”. By participating in the sport, students can get more than just a good exercise. They can make friends, see new places, and feel better about themselves.
At the moment, the women’s team is looking to expand their small team to more Northsiders. “You should join cross country because it is great exercise and you meet many great people. You get to run and get great exercise every day,” said Franke. “For some people, running just one mile may be difficult, but the coaches are very good about building people up slowly. Before you know it, you’ll be running farther and faster than ever before, and while you’re doing this, you’ll have made several great friends.” The team’s current top runners include Erin Franke, Erin Goldman, Gwen Casey, Elia Ton-That, and Kendra Lachcik. Any students that would like some tips or advice about joining the team or running cross country can find them after school during practices.
Students interested in getting involved without joining the team are welcome to attend any of the girls’ meets. After winning the city championships four years in a row, the team is hoping to defend its title. The city championships will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Washington Park. The team is working very hard to prepare for the race and is very determined to bring that win home.