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Milton Cross Country dominates Wingfoot

Nadine Haddad, Staff Writer

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Cross Country is a national varsity sport that has existed since 1837, and Milton has been a top-finishing program in the state since 2014.

Palak Mahajan, a sophomore runner for Milton Cross Country, is eager to share the experiences she has during practices and meets. “I love the people,” she exclaims with a smile plastered on her face. Mahajan started running for school clubs when she was in middle school and joined Cross Country her freshman year.

“At first I joined to stay in shape and have something [to add to] my college resume, but after the first month of joining I realized it’s so much more than that.” Mahajan reveals that she stayed in Cross Country and even ended up joining Track and Field because of the long-lasting friendships she made and the passion she has for competing against others.

Mahajan admits that sometimes during practice, “I get tired and I want to stop,” however, she follows the philosophy that “the faster you run, the faster you’re done.”

Not only does Mahajan motivate herself to run every single day, but running drives her to get other important things done as well. She takes all Honors and AP classes, making time management difficult. She explains, “Of course I become super tired, but after I run I feel like I want to do my homework and get it done with.”

Mahajan looks forward to meets and works hard to beat her personal best race time every weekend. She says that the meet she looks most forward to is Wingfoot, and although she missed it this year, she recalls many of the memories she made last season.

“I like how all the teams gather and get to know each other,” Mahajan discloses. She reminisces on bonding not only with the fellow runners on her team but also with runners from different schools.

On Saturday, September 23rd, Milton Cross Country drove to Lawrenceville to compete at Wingfoot against people not only from the state of Georgia but others from Florida and South Carolina.

After wiping out the entire meet by 142 points, Milton Cross Country became the tenth best Cross Country team in the nation. Nicholas Yanek, a senior at Milton and one of the top Varsity runners on the team named “West Strider of the Month” — a recognition from the West Stride Running Store that “honors the top student athletes as nominated by coaches,” states www.weststride.com — in August 2017, is pleased about last Saturday’s meet. 

The Wingfoot trail specifically is not as long as a normal Cross Country course, for it only measures three kilometers rather than the traditional five kilometers. Yanek still refers to the trail as a “true Cross Country course.” When asked how he motivates himself despite all the pressure put on him during meets like Wingfoot, Yanek responds with, “I tell myself I’m almost done,” and that “the path won’t last too long.”

In her interview, Mahajan explains that last year the course was cut short because it was sweltering and windy outside, and the dirt and dry air made it “hard to breathe.” Yanek says that he enjoyed running the trail, especially because there were piles of hay bails runners had to jump over while racing, suggesting Wingfoot made renovations to the course.

Yanek explains that although the idea of running with people from out of state is “intimidating” on some level, it is “more exciting” on another. There is more competition, boosting the overall purpose of racing, and there are plenty of new faces, giving athletes an opportunity to make new friends.

Yanek is overall “happy with how [the race] went.” Although he did not beat his personal best race time, he recalls that Milton as a whole achieved many of its “team goals,” allowing it to hold the title it has today. Both Mahajan and Yanek are consistently training and mentally preparing for the rest of the season and are looking forward to meets to come.

 

 

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