Cross Country faces challenges for a new generation of runners

From adding a new coach to fostering more intense workouts and losing Senior Varsity, the Mead High cross country team helps to give runners a new mindset.

Bella Justice, Reporter

More than a month into the season, it is clear that this year’s cross-country team has challenges it hasn’t had yet before.

Senior Jaden Lopez explained, “The whole last year’s boys varsity team is gone.” This means that freshman on the team have had to step it up and adhere to higher standards.

The previous year, free-runs were highly encouraged to help students find a pace they were comfortable with; however, this year “up tempo” (not a runner’s absolute hardest, but a fast pace that must be maintained) has been more common.

These changes have been a challenge for some returning players. Sophomore Lily Drouhard  says that practices have been harder and describes how last season players ran on their own often and there was less pressure to go fast.

There are also optional “two-a-days” where students can run before school at 5:30 to get extra miles in.

This season Mead cross-country added a new coach to their staff: Mr.Garcia. He has had experience running in high school and in college. Senior Hunter Payne says that Garcia becoming the track coach has been a good motivating factor. Mr. Garcia helped track boys last season win state championships and now he is helping motivate the cross country team.

To prepare, players agree that there are definitely some foods to avoid—these include any type of fast food or dairy. Proteins and greens offer a much better route.