Cross-country reflects on loss to Benilde

COVID-19 precautions affect the teams’ cohesiveness


Abby Prestholdt

Senior Lucy Zumbrunnen runs past spectators Sept. 26. Benilde-St. Margaret’s held the meet at Basset Creek Park with a total of three teams competing.

Adam Gips

Despite the cross-country teams’ loss, senior Josh Krueger said the race format created a different mentality for him.

“The top seven people didn’t run today, so I was the number one (runner) for Park. Honestly, that kind of helped me,” Krueger said. “Normally, I focus on staying with other people from the team. But today, I focused on passing people from other teams.”

According to assistant coach Kelson MacKenzie, the weather and course aided in the numerous personal records for the teams. 

“They ran really well, (there were) a lot of season bests. It was 60 degrees, and there wasn’t a lot of wind, so kind of ideal running conditions,” MacKenzie said. “The course was also quick. We’ve been running a lot of the same courses this year, so people were excited to run on a different course.”

Sophomore Denly Lindeman said the COVID-19 precautions haven’t affected the season by much, but the team has still adapted to the new restrictions.

“Everyone is really good about making sure that whenever we’re not actively running, we’re wearing a mask,” Lindeman said. “In the past few years, we’d all run right next to each other on the trail. But now, we’re having to just make sure that one person is at least a couple of feet away from someone else.”

MacKenzie said the team is using a pod format to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It consists of four running groups that are divided by the varsity and JV lineups for each of the teams. However, this precaution has resulted in division within the teams.

“The biggest difference I’ve noticed is how we have to do pods at practice. We’re not able to do the team bonding stuff that we’re used to, and the cohesiveness isn’t quite the same.” MacKenzie said. “That’s been difficult, but the kids have been resilient and doing a really good job.”

According to senior captain Lucy Zumbrunnen, the teams share a strong bond. However, the pod system has led to a lack of connection between the pods.

“We’re all really close, regardless. But, it’s been difficult to communicate with the girls on JV,” Zumbrunnen said. “With the coronavirus, we haven’t been able to have any of the regular things that we’ve had in the past, like pasta parties or other team bonding sessions.”

The next meet will be the conference finals 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at Gale Woods Farm Park against the rest of the Metro West Conference.