At many high schools, the most recognized and dominant sports teams are usually football and basketball. This fall, the Fairmont Cross Country team’s are going the extra mile to make a name for themselves while putting together a victorious season.
To make the 2016-17 season successful, Fairmont’s runners dedicated their time to get better in the off-season. Throughout the summer months, they practiced almost everyday as well as spending time in the weight room, to prepare for the fall. Right now, the team’s focus is set on GWOC match-ups and rivalries, along with a long-term goal of qualifying runners to the state meet in Columbus.
The team opened up the season at the OHSAA Early Bird Invite where the varsity boys placed 15th overall. This is six places better than last year’s finish.
At the Wilmington College meet, the ladies placed 12th and the men placed 8th, defeating several GWOC teams.
Junior Robert Pacenta has had a very successful season thus far. He brings five years of experience to his team.
Cross Country may seem challenging for some, but for Pacenta it’s a hobby. “I like how it is both personally challenging and you get a team atmosphere,” he said.
A good time to finish a cross country race in is anywhere in the 15 minute range. “In cross country, every race you are trying to beat your own PR (personal record) and get a good place for yourself,” Pacenta said. “Then, you have the team goals as well.”
While many see the sport as only an individual competition, cross country is just as much a team sport. Coaches Aaron Baker and Megan Collins are sure to emphasis the team aspect. Along with practicing together, they also do many team bonding activities such as canoeing and camping and even a trip to Cedar Point.
Collins feels very strongly about team dynamics and its importance. “Team bonding is an important aspect to our program, and as coaches, we make sure to incorporate team bonding throughout the year,” she said. “We strive to have the family atmosphere where everyone is helping one another reach their goals inside and outside of cross country and team bonding is a part of how we accomplish that.”
Pacenta is thankful to be on the team and enjoys many things about this sport. He encourages other athletes and Fairmont students to try it out.
“Definitely join, even if you don’t like running. You will like running, it’s super fun and the coaches are really great,” Pacenta said.
Their next race is the ‘Saturday Night Lights Invitational’ at Centerville High School this Saturday. The first race starts at 5:15 p.m. and the last race will run at 9:45 p.m.