Cross Country: Running as a Team to Victory

Dania Schulze, Staff Writer

Steadily breathing, taking one step after another, I swing my arms with every step I take, and all I can think of is crossing the finish line– being better than before. I can tell I am getting closer by all the people standing along the trail cheering for me and my team. My lungs burn, but I persevere because I know it is worth it. It’s worth the moment you cross the finish line and see your time. I am running cross country for the Seward Seahawks.

The cross country season is already about to end; we have only our regions and state meet, which everybody is looking forward to, left for this season. We had a really good, fast and fun season with a lot of highlights. “The one day it wasn’t raining” was definitely one of Mr.Marshall’s highlights and probably a highlight for the rest of the team, too.

One of the reasons why we had such an amazing season is, of course, the team itself. “I think cross country is special. We are very supportive of each other, and I think that is important. You can’t succeed without support,” said Teresa Bickling when I asked her what she thinks about the team of 2017. When you are part of the cross country team, you can literally feel how everybody supports you, how everybody appreciates you and what you do. This might also be a reason why we are getting better as a team.

Since we grew as a team in this season, we got faster and more competitive, our goals for regions and state grew with us. “I want our boys to shoot for third place in regions and for second place in the state championship,” responded Mr.Marshall about the big upcoming meets on the 23rd (regions) and 30th (state) of September. Mr.Marshall’s plans about the team getting better also include the girls. He said he wished we get third at regions and “one of the two top spots in state, first or second.” These are the goals for the whole cross country team.

But what are the personal goals for our runners? I interviewed our top senior runners Ruby Lindquist and Zen Petrosius about their goals for the upcoming meets and what they plan about running after graduation. Zen wants to “run in the higher sixteens and for the team to be a big upset.” Ruby, on the other hand, said, “I just wanna finish the season strong, do my best for state and feel good about it.” They are both really looking forward to competing with other runners at regions and state. That’s probably the main reason why both of them said the State Preview at Bartlett was their favorite meet so far.

Since Ruby and Zen have been running for a long time and are very experienced runners, they both want to continue running in college. “The coach has to work good with me or I won’t go,” said Ruby when I asked how running influences how she chooses her college.

Our cross country coach Mr. Marshall has been coaching runners for a long time, but he decided that his time being a coach has come to an end. When I asked what this season means to him he responded, “It means the end of 26 years of coaching Seward runners and the transition into a new focus in my life.” A lot of people will definitely miss him and his way of coaching. “He helps you a lot personally as an individual,” said freshman Hana Cooney about how Mr. Marshall supports you as a coach.

Since this will be Mr. Marshall’s last year as a coach, everybody wants to know what Teresa Bickling’s plans for the future are. She is the current coach assistant and helps Mr. Marshall with practice and meets. Teresa’s statement about what her plans are for coaching high school runners is that she doesn’t know yet if she wants to take over Mr. Marshall’s place, but she is totally sure that she wants to keep on coaching runners at SHS. She has been coaching runners for 21 years. When I asked about her motivation she answered, “I love encouraging kids to do hard things. We don’t grow if we don’t do hard things.” She is definitely very beloved by the team, and a lot of people would like her to coach, although Mr. Marshall will be missed.

The cross country season is coming to an end, and personally I am sad about that because I had an amazing time with the very supportive and funny people who always encouraged me to keep on running. I’m hoping that we will do well at regions and get into the State Championships. I wish everybody an amazing last week of cross country and hope that you enjoy being around all the kind people on the team.