Cross Country

The procession of a hundred green and white jerseys floods the starting line
as we begin to warm up. From arm circles, to lunges, to A skips and B skips, the
clock continues to tick down to starting time. Our final cheer as a team is louder than
anyone else on that course. With us seniors in the middle, circled up and shoulder-to-
shoulder, we cheer for our cc girl family. Tears flow, nerves are high. Thirty seconds.
Wishing good luck and singing Build Me Up Buttercup. Fifteen seconds. Dead silence. Ten
seconds. Off goes the gun.

I’ve been running cross-country for four years, and I never thought I was going to miss it this much. Aside from my experience, let’s take a look at this year’s season retrospectively. This season, we had about 80 girls participate in all of our races. That being said, our team would race 60-70 girls because of injuries. Even injuries, however, didn’t stop us from placing top 3 at every race for both JV and Varsity teams. Along with our races during the season, our greatest amounts of PR’s came from the final meets for the entire team, City and Conference.

Freshman Natalie Rhodes, sophomores Isabel Eigenberger and Sylvia Green, juniors Claire Reid and Alyana Enemuoh, and seniors Sierra Hansen and Sydney Peterson composed Memorial’s sectional team. Sydney Peterson finished strong, and qualified for State for the 4th. Though we didn’t qualify as a team, this will be at least the 8th year in a row that Memorial would be sending female runner to State.

Sydney Peterson: A Gifted Runner
Along with the season overview, I got a chance to interview Sydney Peterson, who began running competitively only freshman year. Sydney began running during the summer running program before freshman year, which was surprising to me, because you would think that someone so fast would have been running since childhood. I asked her what drew her to cross-country. She told me that her best friend’s sister encouraged her to join because it would be fun. For Sydney, that’s exactly how the beginning of freshman year running went. “It was just about running with my friends. I didn’t have to worry about breaking any race times or uphold the team”. Within the first three weeks of her first season, Sydney began running varsity, and even advanced to sectionals and state. “I had a great season freshman year, but it was definitely hard to come back sophomore year because you would have that expectation from the coaches to run faster”. “Cross-country wasn’t an exponential growth curve at all. There were injuries and failures that you couldn’t shake off. I got injured my junior year and not only was that a physical setback but it was a mental setback. Cross-country doesn’t just train your body; it trains and challenges you mentally. Running in a race, you know that three miles is nothing, but when run the first mile and the second mile hits, you just got to push through.”

A charming and powerful individual, Sydney is admirable, fierce and persevering. She represents the true vigor of a cross-country runner, carrying both her own experience and representing our Spartan family. Sydney plans to run track and field for the last time this year but doesn’t plan to do so in college. “JMM cross- country is nothing like anything I’ve experienced before. To know over a hundred girls from every year and become as close as family with them it truly a magical thing. I don’t think I would find anything but competition in college, and I can’t imagine myself had I not done cross-country. It’s made me who I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful.”


–  Simran Sandhu


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