Cross country endures difficulties

Girls place seventh, boys place 14th at invitational

Senior+Ben+Matthews+competes+in+a+cross+country+meet+Sept.+17.+Park+finished+the+meet+in+fifth+place.++

Harris Keekley

Senior Ben Matthews competes in a cross country meet Sept. 17. Park finished the meet in fifth place.

Sophia Curran-Moore

After a year of running mostly in solitude, sophomore Ayelel Meyen said she is ecstatic to run in a team again. The Lakeville Apple Jack Invitational Sept. 18 was a great opportunity to race with other schools, according to Meyen.

“It means a lot when I get to run with my team, because running with my team is so much better than running by myself,” Meyen said. “It’s great to be able to race other teams, since last year we only got to race within our conference in sections.”

According to sophomore Tommy Walsh, it was an arduous race. Walsh said he is satisfied with his performance, but is eager to improve.

“It’s not my best, but I’m proud of myself for finishing. It was a pretty tough day,” Walsh said. “I’m excited to get better. I’m excited to finally achieve some goals throughout the year.”

According to head cross country coach Christopher Nordstrom, there were inexperienced runners that excelled, despite the difficulty.

“We had a lot of kids that really nailed it. We had a few kids run their first 5K, so it was fun to see runners do their first 5K and have fun and work through it, because it’s not an easy thing to do,” Nordstrom said. “Overall, I think it wasn’t our best day. Some kids are a little tired, and it showed a little bit yesterday, but we’re going to just keep pushing and continue to improve.”

I am excited to meet new people, help out and be there for the team.”

— Matthew Montañez

Senior Matthew Montañez said it was difficult to motivate himself to run during the pandemic. This year, his friends helped him run, and he’s excited to meet new friends.

“COVID(-19) made me lazy. My friends motivated me to get back into running, and now I’m slowly getting back,” Montañez said. “This year, I am excited to meet new people, help out and be there for the team.

According to Meyen, she has room for improvement. She said she should run at a more consistent pace in future races.

“I have a tendency of going out pretty fast, and when you go out too fast, it’s hard to keep that momentum,” Meyen said. “I definitely wasn’t at my best, and I still have some work to do, but I’m excited to see what there is to do.”

Nordstrom said he expects that the team will do better at future races, particularly sections.

“We’ve got a big varsity race next Friday, so hopefully we can bounce back,” Nordstrom said. “The goal is to be at our best at our conference meet in a little over a month, and then sections is about five and a half weeks away. Hopefully, all of our kids can be feeling our best and running our best at those two races.”

The next cross country race will be against St. Michael-Albertville at 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Michael Recreation Center.