Pasta parties bridge broken community

Cross country continues tradition amidst pandemic

Junior+Auden+Whitlow+gets+food+during+a+cross+country+pasta+party+Oct.+11.+The+team+gathered+in+preparation+for+the+Brookside+Invitational+which+took+place+Oct.+12.

Zoe Ziessman

Junior Auden Whitlow gets food during a cross country pasta party Oct. 11. The team gathered in preparation for the Brookside Invitational which took place Oct. 12.

Adam Gips

Pasta parties are staples for many teams to bond throughout its seasons. But after a year without them for cross country, junior captain Denly Lindeman said he felt less connected to his team.

“Last year there were tons of people that I didn’t know their names; we didn’t have pasta parties at all last year with COVID(-19),” Lindeman said. “I’m only now getting to know their names, a year later, because of the pasta parties and how I can interact with them during that.”

According to head coach Chris Nordstrom, the cross country team was constrained to pods of a couple of runners. Because of these limitations, bonding became very difficult, Nordstrom said.

“I definitely feel overall coaches and team members are just closer because we’re able to spend more time together — we’re not broken into pods. We’re able to do some team bonding stuff, have some fun days,” Nordstrom said. “With the protocols and COVID(-19), we’re able to have a little bit more freedom outside. We don’t have to always be six feet apart and in groups. It’s definitely helped.”

For freshman runner Paige Descarpentrie, pasta parties provide a bonding opportunity different from just riding the bus as a team.

“It’s a good chance to talk with people about the race because (before the race) you can’t really talk. They [pasta parties] are important because I feel like (you can’t always) get that on the bus,” Descarpentrie said.

I don’t think it’s had a huge difference in performance. But overall, I think our culture is in a way better spot.”

— Chris Nordstrom

According to Lindeman, the runners are disappointed when they aren’t able to have a pasta party.

“Before (Roy) Griak, which is our big invitational meet that all varsity goes to, everyone was like, ‘are we having a pasta party, are we having a pasta party?’ We had a meet (the day before), so we couldn’t have a pasta party on a Sunday,” Lindeman said. “Everyone was really bummed that we weren’t having it. People really look forward to them, it’s great team building.”

Nordstrom said although the pasta parties haven’t affected the team’s running the community is much stronger.

“I don’t think it’s had a huge difference in performance,” Nordstrom said. “But overall, I think our culture is in a way better spot.”