Cross Country season has started, and the coaches and runners are all excited for another year. This year’s team has over 100 runners, and almost half are new to the sport.
Junior Sarah Uehara is one of the 18 new high school runners. “I quit volleyball this year and I wanted to do a sport, and my friends have been telling me to run for a while now so…peer pressure. But I kind of always wanted to run,” she said.
Veteran runner, sophomore Lucas Chun, who has been running since eighth grade, has high hopes for the season. “My goal this season is to go to States,” said Chun. “I enjoy running because of the friendly competition, being able to see improvement in yourself, and being able to run with my friends.”[one_third]
“You struggle, but you’re never alone.”
Coach Derek Coryell[/one_third]
Cross Country races are separated by gender, and divisions—intermediate, junior varsity, varsity. The intermediate team runs two-mile races, and the high school team takes on three-mile ones. According to coach Ross Mukai, this year, the team is planning to participate in a race on the slopes of Haleakala, hosted by Seabury Hall, on Maui. This is also where the State Championship is being held and Mukai wants the team to familiarize themselves with the course.
In Cross Country, runners compete against their own teammates in a race, but placement is scored by school. The top five runners of each team gets a certain amount of points for their team, and the team with the lowest score wins. Despite the being competitors against each other, runners on a team can stlll count on their teammates for moral support during a race.
Intermediate team coach Derek Coryell has been coaching for 13 years and appreciates the camaraderie that runners share. “As you think about the miles of effort and pain ahead of you,” he said, “the starting line can be a stressful, lonely place. Nobody else can take a single step for you. But that’s what makes it great to be on the starting line with your teammates. You struggle, but you’re never alone.” He added, “I enjoy coaching because I love the sport and I love the kids. To see someone strive, risk, succeed, fail, fall and get back up, these are rare and special moments in a young life…I like to tell runners that, although cross country isn’t likely to be the most difficult thing you ever face in life, it’s awfully good practice for when the hard times come.”
The team has already run three races this season. The boys junior varsity team placed first in their first race (at Kamehameha,) while the girls intermediate team placed second. The boys intermediate team placed first at Kualoa Ranch just this past Saturday.
Photographs by Kyle Higa (’17)