The average high school cross country team competes in either two or three mile races, the former representing junior varsity runners and the latter varsity runners. Throughout the course of any given race runners can endure uneven terrain; a variety of weather ranging from blistering sunshine to frigid, windy rain; and a multitude of rolling hills. In fact, cross country is a constant battle against yourself. Captain of the varsity girls team, Hannah Brown says, “You have something to fight for. You want to fight for improving your times, and it gives me motivation.” Although cross country is branded as an individual sport, it is indeed a giant family. Maya Campos, a runner for the girls team, can attest to this positive atmosphere. She says, “We’re kind of protective of each other in a way. We don’t let anyone push us around.” Campos continues, “We’re pretty open with each other. We make a lot of jokes, we do a lot of team bonding, so it’s a really fun atmosphere. We feel really safe around each other.” Washington’s cross country team is especially lucky to have such a unique bond, because it is often needed just to survive practices. Head Coach Ben Vose is very ambitious and always pushes his runners to be the best they can be. Despite their hard work last season, both the boys and girls teams ended with a record of 1-5. This season, Coach Ben has set high goals for his individual runners: “My plans and goals for this season are for all the returning athletes to improve 30 seconds to a minute and a half on their three mile times.” Overall, he expects the varsity boys team to finish in the top three in league and the girls to finish in at least the top four.
There is no doubt that Washington’s football team has been struggling these past few years. Last season, their overall record was 1-9 and their league record was 1-5. Despite the scores not reflecting their dedication, the football team continues to work hard in the face of adversity. According to Head Coach Edwards, “I don’t look so much at the score or the end result. I look at, you know, just the process and really how the kids are coming along.” Coach Edwards strives to teach his players lessons that they can apply to their lives well after their football careers have ended and he expects them to reflect this edification as the season progresses. He says, “I’m just looking for growth out of the young men not only physically, but mentally, academically, and on the field. I want to see how they grow together. I want to see if they’re learning from their mistakes.” It is difficult for many athletes to stop fixating on scores and start focusing on personal and team growth, but by reinforcing this concept Coach Edwards is providing his athletes with valuable advice applicable to life outside of high school sports.