Cross Country Attracts Runners With Friendly Atmosphere


photo by Patrick Martin

Freshman Carson Whaley runs at the cross country meet in Conway on Oct. 15, competing against runners from schools around central Arkansas.

Ian Fendley, staff writer

The Central Cross Country Team may not be taken as seriously as other school sports teams, but the runners on the team still find what they do every day after school and at meets on the weekends meaningful in their own different ways.

A lot of the runners do it to keep in shape and challenge themselves, such as senior Charlie Gresham.

“I like cross country because it is a true test of physical strength and endurance. It shows you and everyone else how much can put yourself through,” Gresham said.

The competitive aspect of the sport is what motivates most runners, but the competition doesn’t always come from other teams.

“My main competitor this season is William Purifoy, and he’s on our team. He’s one of our best runners and he pushes me to do better and to get in better shape,” Gresham said.

Other runners are more laid back, simply there for the family aspect of the team. They enjoy the community that builds around running and the friendly atmosphere that the team develops.

“At practice it’s really chill. We just run a few miles or some interval stuff. I just like going because the people are so funny. We’re like a big family,” junior Emma Jewell said.

The practices after school may seem like it would be too much of a load for an average high school teenager, but it actually benefits the runners in more ways than one may think.

“I like going right after school because when I get home I’ve already blown off steam from a stressful day of school. I can hang out with my family and do homework with more ease, probably thanks to endorphins that get released during exercise,” Jewell said.

Even though the members of the Cross Country team may have different motives, they still all strive to compete at a high level and be the best they can be for themselves and the team.