Milton Cross Country: The End of an Era
October 22, 2021
Tomorrow, October 23rd may end up being just a normal weekend day to any other high schooler, but for the members of Milton Cross Country it is the most important day of the year and the end of an era many don’t want to say goodbye to. Tomorrow MXC will be running the 7A regional finals for our area, going against six other schools for the chance to go to state. Although only the top seven girls and boys will end up going to state, the full team will be there to compete and race and bring their trademark Milton energy. For many, this race is the end of their running careers, a swan song for some of the best sporting years of their lives. These are their stories.
When discussing Milton Cross Country it’s hard not to bring up the craziness and sheer absurdity of the team itself. Most of the team has been brought on by friends and family sharing the experience that is MXC. As said plainly by senior Alex Payne, “they are the best group of idiots I could ever ask for.” This sentiment is shared universally by the team, giving MXC a distinct charm. Whether it be Junior Benji Watry running in a banana costume or sophomore Chris Murray wearing pit vipers during a meet, the attitude of the runners is far from serious, and the team vastly benefits from this. Junior, Benji Watry made the point that “each one of these people, they’re all unique in their own way” which he claims to be one of the biggest strengths of the sport. These aspects also make MXC a very welcoming place for new team members. As stated by senior Axel Zivik when discussing the people within the team, “The people in it are very welcoming and caring along with being weird and goofy in a good way”. The community within the team is why most runners continue running even though the rigorous workouts and long runs, cross country still offers a community that is both caring and fun; Just a group of friends who run together.
When It Gets Serious
Contrary to popular belief, Cross Country is still a serious sport, with the team having won several events already this year. Meets are divided into three categories: Varsity (top seven on each team), Junior Varsity (top ten on each team), and open (everybody else). These categories provide a distinct incentive for each runner to get progressively better. Ivy Ridnt, a freshman and top JV runner, claims that “It’s almost more serious to run in upper JV than in varsity as you are constantly trying to reach that goal of varsity adding more pressure to yourself”. This mindset of constantly doing better is present on each level with it becoming “far more serious and competitive the higher you get” as said by sophomore and varsity runner, Calista Cacciatore. However, as said by Farrah Frith, the top girls’ runner on the team, “the sport and the people are still fun making it enjoyable to push myself when I need to”. If the varsity teams place above the top four tomorrow they will proceed to the 7A state championship in two weeks with the girls’ team being projected to place fifth in the state. However, even if the team does not place or medal at state, the honor of going and the joy of racing is already enough.
Why We Will Miss It
The hardest thing for many at the race tomorrow will be facing the end of their MXC season. With “most of the team being brought on by friends” according to Farris Moiz, a senior and captain of MXC, leaving cross country will not just be an end to racing or practice but a goodbye to the friendships and traditions of an amazing team. The team has also changed the lives of most that join it. Farrah Frith claims that it will be “one of the hardest things to move away from because it changed my life as soon as I came to the team”. For Ivy Ridnt she says “it’s not so much the running I’ll miss cause I can do that in college, but it’s the people that I can’t replace”. Everyone that I interviewed said that they would miss the team after it finished and that looking back every second was worth it.
When the trademark sound of the gun rings through the fields of Cherokee on the morning of the 23rd, Milton Cross Country will be ready to run their legs out one last time. Although this is not the last meet for many and although the season will continue next year, tomorrow will be a day of both great happiness and pride as well as sadness for many who have loved each season for the last four years. Tomorrow will be a special day for many, and for MXC it will be the end of another season, another era of sorts for a sport that has changed the lives of many.
Credits In order of Interviewed
Thank You So Much and Good Luck Tomorrow!