Boys’ cross country takes third championship in a row


Captain Hayden Simmons helped lead the cross country team to their third SPC championship in a row. (Jared Margolis)

Izzy Andrews and Natasha Faruqui

Rain drizzled on the boys’ cross country runners as they prepared for their SPC race. Tensions ran high as the captains tried to lift the spirits of their anxious team.

“The captains and some other team members gave short but rousing motivational speeches to get us ready for the race. There were tears in the moments leading up to the gun,” junior Simon Jernigan said.

Their anxiety proved unnecessary: the boys came into the season hoping for a third consecutive win at the championship, a “three-peat,” and they were not disappointed. The ten runners from the team of 66 defeated St. Mark’s by an impressive margin of 43 points.

Still, going into the race, the team realized how demanding their goal would be. The field was wet due to rain, and the girls’ team had run before the boys, which roughened up the course and increased the difficulty of the already strenuous run.

Junior Sean Jackson placed 15th at the SPC race. (Jared Margolis)
Junior Sean Jackson placed 15th at the SPC race. (Jared Margolis)

The team’s victory did not come without obstacles. Senior captain Jayan Hanson, who placed 13th overall, fell down on the first mile.

“Someone accidentally nudged me off the course and I took a tumble, but I managed to get back up and keep running,” Hanson said.

The runners credit their victory in part to their coaching staff.

“The hill at the start of the second mile and third mile were very rough,” said junior Drew Woodfolk, who came in 5th overall and placed first on the team. “Thankfully, due to all of Richie’s hill training, we were all very prepared to tackle it.”

The boys also attribute their win to a strong team dynamic.

“When it came to running in SPC we just did what we do just about every week: stick together, compete with joy, and fight until the end,” Woodfolk said. “Winning the title was nothing more than a byproduct of those things.”