Among the many fall sports at Tempe Prep, the cross country team is now in the latter part of its season, having completed seven of its scheduled nine meets. The team, comprised of members from all grades, has run its races (usually around five kilometers) on several different terrains, ranging from golf courses to desert trails and city parks.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have faced their fair share of difficulties this season. The men’s team has had to find ways to make up for the departure of several key seniors from 2012, as last year’s team was the fastest in TPA history. Due to the lack of members, there is no full women’s team, so the team cannot be scored in meets. The teams have also had to overcome injury problems as well.
Regardless of these adversities, the team has continued to work vigorously and remained fully dedicated. Senior captain Gordon Holt described cross country as “all about being self-motivated to do the very best,” and that “if everyone on the team is doing that then no one can be disappointed with the team’s performance.”
Rachel Matsumoto has performed particularly well this season. The junior runner has been running close to the TPA women’s record times, and could qualify for the state meet if she places in the top 25 in sectional competition – having already finished in the top 10 every race this year.
Coach Dr. Hickernell added that the team’s commitment is as strong as ever, as some members log in miles over the weekend in addition to weekday practices. Furthermore, he stressed that while it is always important to run at the right pace and not lose steam too quickly during a competition, “the race is really won in practice.”
Dr. Hickernell also noted that his “main aim in cross country is to develop runners for life,” and how running on the cross country team has benefits beyond the high school sport itself. Runners develop good work ethics, diligence, and habits that prove very useful in later life.
*Published on October 24th.