Cross Country's Home Stretch

Michael Gross Co-Editor-in-Chief Three years ago, renowned cross country coach Dan Daly took his largest group of freshman boys runners off to the side after one practice. “You guys have the potential to be something special.” Three years later takes us to earlier this November in Peoria, Illinois at the Cross Country State Championships. And, at the huddle before the last race for six seniors, Coach Daly took them back to their freshman year. “No matter what happens today, you guys are something special. Your legacy will live on forever.” Now, as any athlete can relate to, the movements before a game or a meet can be nerve-wracking. And, heading into my last meet ever, I thought the nerves were going to be at an all-time high. But after some quick deep breaths and dry heaves, I joked and talked with my teammates – embracing the last moment we would be representing Latin out on a cross country course. Many think of cross country as an individual sport with little team aspect, but while there is certainly no dearth of solitude and pain, what keeps each of us going is knowing that our teammates are out there fighting the same battle. To start every meet, there is an elongated horn, a pause, and then a gunshot. At this final State Championships, the pause between the horn and the gunshot seemed longer than ever. I thought back to our historic four-year career:

  • 4-time ISL Conference Champions
  • 3-time 1A Regional Champions
  • 2013 Sectional Champions
  • 13th place, 15th place, and 10th place at 1A State Championships
  • First Latin Boys Cross Country team to qualify for 2A State Championships
The last race went by as fast as the four years. I guess time really does fly when you are having fun, or running a sub-6 mile. And, it turns out that the previous 3-mile school record of 15:42 was not broken by one of our seniors, but rather junior, and future team captain, Simon Ricci. It has been quite the ride and it is definitely comforting knowing that the future of the team is in good hands. The group we are leaving behind looks eerily similar to our group that practice early freshman year. Although there is without a doubt more cross country left, more records to be broken, and more laughs and jokes to be had, that Saturday morning this November certainly marked the end of an era.]]>