A Look Behind The Laces

Cross country team starts year off with determination to endure brutal practices that drive their competition


It’s before the race.

The teammates gather around to do their stretches and group prayer, their routine before every run. The anticipation grips senior Kylee Garcia as she chants stretches and helps prepare the group for the meet, one of her many responsibilities as captain of the girl’s cross-country team. Looking around, she sees multiple nervous faces.

Only 20 minutes until the race begins.

Kylee mentally prepares herself for what is to come.

“I like to empty my mind,” Kylee said. “I try to rid myself of all of the negative thoughts. I just take away all of the anxiety that I have.”

She cautiously walks to the starting line. She finds her position, impatiently waiting for the race to begin.

Breathing in and out, she calms herself. Seconds pass slowly.


And she’s off.

When running, there are certain characteristics all cross-country members seem to have when competing in meets.

“We practice for an hour after school and I also run on my own sometimes,” said Garcia. “I have training on the sidelines that I do. So sometimes I end up running two times a day.”

Focus and determination define these runners as they endure brutal practices, and meets almost weekly when competing.

“We all have to get mentally prepared to die,” sophomore Sarah Tempelmeyer said about their rigorous training. “But we still keep on running because that’s why we’re here.”

Competition certainly tends to encourage the girls to run as Kylee Garcia, Lauren Tisdale, and Trisha Nicolas have recently medaled at the Lubbock Invitational.

“As a runner you want to just pick the person ahead of you and catch up to them,” Tempelmeyer said. “My teammates also motivate me.”

As for the boys’ cross-country team, the feelings regarding running are mutual.

“It’s very fun,” junior cross-country runner Zachary Payne said. “The guys on the team are great to be around and to hang out with.”

Not only is running a major part in cross-country, but the runners say their teammates tend to have an impact on them.

“The guys on the team are amazing to be around, and great at running,” said Payne.

After all the practice and camaraderie, the race is an individual fight for the finish.

Tired, Kylee sees the finish line within her reach. Pacing herself she nears closer and closer. A sudden rush of exhilaration is what gets her through this long, seemingly never ending meet.

And finally, she’s finished.

Exhaustion exudes from Kylee as she has finally finished the meet.

“I feel, well, at first, I feel like I’m dead,” Garcia said. ”Then once I recover I feel good about myself. I feel really accomplished.”