Cross country runs the trail of success

Mary Westrich ‘22 and Katie Stiens ‘23, determined to win, race to the finish line of the varsity race at the Trinity-Valkyrie meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

Photo courtesy of: Ruth DeBono

Mary Westrich ‘22 and Katie Stiens ‘23, determined to win, race to the finish line of the varsity race at the Trinity-Valkyrie meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Many sports are mostly about teams winning or losing. Not cross country. Although the team is a large part of the experience, in the end it’s up to the players to push themselves to run well.

The WHHS girl’s team performed especially well this season. They placed fifth overall as team at Sectionals, qualified for Regionals and had three runners in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) top 25. Earlier in the season, the team took first overall in the Trinity/Valkyrie invitational meet in Louisville, Kentucky. Katie Steins, ‘23, placed first out of 169 girls in the varsity race and Caroline Meyer, ‘21, placed tenth overall in the same race.

Before they came to love the sport, many of the girls ran for a break from other sports or extra conditioning to get in shape. SENIOR Audrey Warren decided to begin running after quitting volleyball because her older brother had ran. Warren says that while the first few practices were physically rough, it wasn’t long before she saw improvements. While sometimes the workouts can be grueling and tiresome, Warren believes it’s all worth it in the end. “I continue to run because the people on the team are amazing. It helps relieve so much stress. It teaches me so much about my body’s limits and the rewarding feeling it comes with after I finish a run,” Warren said.

When asked about contributing factors to the team’s success, Steins attributed it to how close they all were. “We supported each other. Cross country is a very positive sport and everyone always cheers for everyone and pushes each other to do better. Some of my favorite things about the team is that it has such kind, supportive people from all grades and no one is ever hesitant to talk to each other,” Stiens said.

Photo courtesy of: Ruth DeBono
Girls’ varsity cross country poses after another successful race. From left to right Isabel Rodriguez ‘22, Caroline Meyer ‘21, SENIOR Audrey Warren, Sabrina McSherry ‘22, Isabel Hastings ‘22, Mary Westrich ’22, Katie Stiens ‘23.

This same sentiment was echoed by Meyer, who tried running because both of her parents did in high school, but continued after falling in love with the sport and looks forward to seeing her teammates everyday.

Another thing that the entire team appreciates are the weekly pasta team dinners. Every Friday night before a meet, the team gathers at a runner’s house to eat, play games and hang out before the next day’s race. While part of the reason for these dinners is to load up on carbs for the next morning, it also serves as a form of weekly team bonding.

Pasta dinners are just another part of cross country that many of the SENIOR runners will miss about the team. Warren took on the responsibility of being a role model to her younger teammates this season and saw it as her job to be there for anyone who needed help or had questions. For the remaining members of the varsity team, who still have a few more seasons ahead, they hope to improve their times and improve upon the success of this season while also maintaining their team’s chemistry.