The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

Cross Country Reaches Finish Line

Team Workouts and Early Weekend Races Come to End for Seniors

Cross country seniors lined up with their parents to walk across J.A. Fair’s football field in celebration of their running careers coming to an end. A sport full of out-of-town meets and after-school practices, cross country is a tight-knit community. Seniors on the team recently completed their final meet in Hot Springs earlier this month. Reflecting on their time as Tiger runners, cross country has played a large role in their high school experiences. 

“During senior night, I felt proud to be a part of a team at Central. It was definitely emotional because it meant coming to terms with the fact that we are graduating and we may not see each other as often in coming years. It marked the end of a final season,” senior Aayushi Modi said. 

Cross country seniors are recognized at the fall senior night during the last home football game.
Photo taken by Zachary Kaufmann (used with permission)

Modi originally heard about the team through friends, coming out of freshman year without ever attending school in person due to the pandemic. Looking for a team to be a part of, she joined XC.

“Everyone already on the team was super supportive and motivating,” Modi said. “The community is extremely non-judgmental, we know that everyone has a different skill and that should be respected. One of my favorite memories is the time during a race when I wasn’t doing the best, and the rest of the team were on the sidelines cheering me on.”

Co-captain Beverly Fan ran for her middle school cross country team at The Anthony School. Having experience in the sport, she was excited to compete on a new level. 

“I started in 6th grade and at the time, a lot of my friends were doing it. It felt natural for me and to do it too,” Fan said. “We just goof around a lot and it’s so nice to bond as a team, from playing Wordscapes to prank calls.”

As for her leadership role, Fan says that being co-captain has not changed her involvement or rigor in the sport, but her emotional connection. 

Pullquote Photo

I still helped set up the tent with them, cheered them on, and carried the snacks. It kind of felt more like a ‘senior title.’ The role did make me more emotional. I look at my underclassmen and I honestly can’t wait to see how they’ll succeed. Cross country will definitely be in safe hands after we graduate.

— Fan

Modi agreed with the future of cross country at the school. Seniors, throughout long bus rides and team bonding meals, had the chance to get to know and mentor underclassmen. Varied in skill and background knowledge, the team has become an accepting group of people who all enjoy running just for the fun of it. This has allowed them to form close friendships and the ability to have fun at every meet, regardless of their ability. 

“Cross country has definitely been one of the more humbling aspects of my high school career. Being surrounded by those who excel at what they do has taught me a lot about what it means to try my best, even when it seems difficult to do so,” Modi said. “Cross country is definitely a mental sport rather than physical, so having a team that has your back in that aspect is always rewarding. It has made me stronger as a person.”

While some runners joined in high school, others have been participating in races and cross-country teams since they were in elementary school. The state meet on Nov. 1 marked the end of their final season. The girls ran first, a gunshot marking the beginning of their race. Though no seniors placed in this event, winning was not the focus.

“It is very fulfilling,” Fan said. “I’ve done it for half of my life, so being at the end of it all is surreal. I’m proud of myself, my team, and how far we have come.” 

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About the Contributor
Sophie Navin
Sophie Navin, Online Editor
Hey! I'm a senior and this is my third year on Tiger News staff, my second year as online editor. When I'm not writing and organizing stories, I work at Camp Aldersgate and a local daycare, as well as tutoring middle schoolers. In my free time I love listening to music and hanging out with friends. I'm excited to create special issues of The Tiger in my final year at Central High.

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