Girls’ Cross Country travels to France


From left: Juniors Emily Feng, Mariela Arreola, Juliette Draper, Elizabeth McNeely, Caroline Burnett and Carlee Marquez stand in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Mia Fares, Staff Writer

From August third through twelfth, the girl’s cross country team went across the world to explore France on their yearly retreat. With daily morning runs through the hilly French countryside, the team spent the rest of their days touring famous monuments, towns and attractions, including Mont Saint Michel, Omaha Beach, and Deauville.

“France was a new and exciting place to run,” junior Elizabeth McNeely said. The team stayed at senior captain Grace Melcher’s family’s house in Normandy, where the team enjoyed beautiful views and delicious food.

“When my sister was a captain during my freshman year, my dad started talking to her about it because we had been to the house that summer and it could fit a lot of girls,” Melcher said. “The cool thing about it was that it was a really unique opportunity we had. It was the perfect year for it.”

From the house, the team travelled by bus to different sites throughout the region. One thing sophomore Erin Oldham enjoyed about the house and bus rides was the team bonding, while Melcher loved the Normandy beaches.

 “Especially for the older girls, we have read all the textbooks and learned all about it in our history classes, but it’s much different to actually stand on the beach,” Melcher said.

The remaining two days were spent in Paris, where the team visited iconic landmarks such as Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. As a crossover between tourism and running, the team enjoyed a 10k stop-and-go run through Paris with tour guides.

From left: sophomore Abigail Price, freshman Hope Doyle and junior Elizabeth McNeely run through the French countryside.

Throughout the trip, the team continued with their routine workout schedule: two hard workouts (intervals, tempo runs and mile repeats) and four maintenance runs (3-6 miles or 20:00 to 60:00) per week. Sophomore Grace Knowles thought that “knowing you were in France made everything better and easier.”

“The weather was amazing,” Oldham said. “It was rainy but it was cooler and the landscape was prettier.” Sophomore Mackenzie Glanville said, “The morning practices were refreshing in the cool weather, and it was difficult to start again in the Houston heat.”

“It was an unforgettable experience not only because it was in France, but because of the amazing relationships that I have made and the new family that I have become a part of,” McNeely said.