by Nelson Cummiskey
Cross country is a unique sport in the sense that it is won with the mind. One athlete who may not have had better race times in the past can overcome an opponent by simply wanting to win more. The best runners can ignore their pain, put mind over matter, and push themselves to their very limits so that they can pummel the opposition.
This mentality is not only in place during races. This way of overcoming limits is put into place every day at practice. While the will to win may be powerful, if you aren’t strong enough to make it through a race without passing out, then it would be impossible to win.
Practices are geared toward getting the optimal performances during meets. To achieve this performance, one must be prepared in all the possible course conditions. Obstacles such hills, roots, curves, and straightaways are all impediments that most people don’t think of as “things you need to practice for,” specifically when preparing for a race. Whether it is running up and down a steep, long, gruesome hill eight times or sprinting as fast as you can lap after lap on the track until you can barely stand up, these are ways cross country runners put their mind over matter and strengthen their bodies so that they have peak performance at the next competition.
The runners at North Springs High School have never shown as much potential as they do now. With a new coach and a young team, the Spartan runners can only get better. In fact, when asked what brought him to the school to lead the Cross Country team, Coach Rob Blaszkiewicz (Coach B) explained “I saw it as a promising program. A really, really good program, that I think can become a great program.” Coach B also went on to say that one of the goals of him coming to North Springs was to “Build a culture of less of a club to more of a varsity sport.”
Some of the runners on the team were not so thrilled initially when the learned that the coach ran a faster 5k than they did. Once the runners embraced the process, it was all downhill; so to speak. Runner George Christman said, “At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the season, but after the first race, I knew that the rest would take care of itself.” Most of the other runners on the team felt that way and week after week they went out and got better. Many runners eventually came to appreciate the wisdom, experience, and passion that the new coach exuded. Varsity runner Wake Williams said, “This year has been a lot tougher, but I’ve gotten a lot faster.” For many runners, that sentiment sums up the season.
On Thursday, October 26th, the North Springs Cross Country team ventured over to Douglas county to run in the 6AAAAA region meet against Riverwood, Lithia Springs, Grady, Decatur, and Maynard Jackson High Schools. The Boys’ Varsity Team, led by Simon Kwon, missed state qualifying by a thread, but the Girls’ Varsity, led by Sophia Charanis, made the cut.
At the long awaited end of the cross country season, the team takes a short, traditional run that all members look forward to — a relaxed jog to a Burger King about two miles away. Once the whole team arrives, they order and sit down for a greasy fast food feast that tastes so good after a long, hard fought season. The walk back may be gruesome, but the team feels it is always worth it.
The future looks bright for the North Springs Cross Country Team. With lots of young, new talent, the team can only get better.