Cross Country Team Pushes Through Difficult Season

Freshman girls place second at Stan Nelson Invitational for team scores with a score of 55.


During the Stan Nelson Invitational 5k Charley Bennight finishes with a time of 25:26. Placing 37th for jv girls.

Sydney White, Staff Writer

The 2021 Cross Country season features a team and coaches who work through difficulties together.
Charlie Bennight, a senior, explained how running is more than exerting yourself, running is more a mental sport, “because your brain always wants you to stop.”
Bennight joined cross country her sophomore year after deciding to quit drill team but wanted to play a fall sport. Cross country has turned into her favorite sport not only because of the competitiveness but also the “fun, welcoming environment.”
Before a race Bennight will use songs like “Pork Soda” by Glass Animals or “Brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo to hype herself up.
Another vital part of the team is the coaches, cross country has a girls’ coach, Coach Hall, and a boys’ coach, Coach McClellan.
Coach Hall explained the hardest part about coaching for her is that “I get very invested in my athletes. But because my cousin is also coaching, that’s all we talk about. This year what’s hard is having a big team and trying to connect to the girls.”
Coach Hall described her coaching style as “definitely not mean, but hard on [the runners], I know what they all can do and push them.” She likes to “learn about the athlete and push them to achieve their goal.”
Hall is not the only one pushing the team: she expects her teammates to encourage each other also, “so that they can turn around and encourage each other not just while running but all the time.”
Coach Hall uses goal setting to help keep the girls motivated during the season.
Coach McClellan thinks the hardest part about coaching is “being able to dedicate the amount of time it takes to develop a successful program while also teaching and having a family. It can be pretty hectic at times and I really have to manage my time so that I am effective at all three.”
Coach McClellan describes his coaching style as “demanding, encouraging, organized, and fair..I also encourage them and help them to work hard to get better at their sport as well as their lives outside of the sport.”
Coach McClellan goes out of his way to make sure all his teammates feel included. McClellan and seniors on the team want to make sure that the athletes feel included and known through doing something as simple as using their names.
Coach McClellan uses quotes to motivate his teammates.“Every day before practice we meet and I read a quote that relates to something we are working on that day.”
McClellan also acknowledges goals and actions to achieve those goals. Running is more of an individual sport, so each runner’s goals vary. McClellan is intentional about acknowledging when a team or individual goal is met.
Coach McClellan explained, “Motivation for distance runners is really important so this is a big focus of ours throughout the season.”