“The cross country season is like a cross country race,” said Coach Ryan Steege. During this year’s cross country season, the team showed improvement in their running and in their team leadership skills. The team struggled at the beginning due to the few practices before the first meet, at ACS Cobham, which was held on September 16. The meets were held at ACS Cobham, ACS Hillingdon, and ACS Egham.
At the start of the season, some kids didn’t know each other very well and had never learned how to run properly under a coach’s instruction. The athletes went to practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays to improve their skill set, become better runners, and prepare for the upcoming competitions, under the instruction of Mr. Steege, Mr. Fordham, and Ms. Matey.
These instructions slowly started to shape each runner’s ability and performance, and these practices were each turning points in the season. Practices were usually held at Primrose Hill and there would be different distances and intensity of running in order to help the athletes in the most effective way. The team worked on running up and down hills, as well as learning to run on flat ground. The practices were flexible with each runner’s comfort level and the coaches pushed each team member to their capacity and to improve.
Eighth-grader Jack Cutler described the cross country season as “very good because we worked really hard and we practiced and we gave it our all at practices.”
One of the most successful meets of the middle school team was the first meet at ACS Cobham on September 16. Some of the athletes had never run on a cross country team before and it was a new experience for them. All of the athletes ran a 3K around the campus. ASL walked away with seven of the top ten spots in the race. This was a great kickoff to the season and boosted confidence for the next meets to come, and it made it easier for each runner.
Many of the team had a positive impression of how the season had gone. “It’s been good,” said eighth-grader Jessie Doleman. “We all tried hard, and we did our best,”
The team slowly grew stronger and closer as they ran through practices and meets together, learning their individual strengths and weaknesses. The team’s second meet, at ACS Hillingdon, on September 20, was also successful. ASL took three of the top ten spots in the race.
Also, this was the first race where some middle schoolers were asked to take part of the 5k high school race. Eighth-grader Evan Emery finished second in the high school race at Hillingdon. Coming behind him were eighth-graders Khalil Ben-Gacem and Jason Covey coming 11th and 12th.
Overall, the team grew close and made improvements to their character and running ability as the season went on. Mr. Steege said, “The team took away a better mindset about running and how they work together as a team, as running as a team had helped with many life skills.