Running three miles every day is a challenging feat, to say the least, as it requires what seems an infinite amount of both physical and mental energy. However, for the Kingswood Oxford varsity boys and girls cross country teams, running long distances each day is almost second nature.
Both the KO boys and girls cross country teams are off to a solid start. The teams started off the season with two unscored meets with the first being at Noble and Greenough and the second at Choate Rosemary Hall. Both teams have looked quite sound and have put in lots of time and effort into running faster, building stamina, and keeping focus.
Head Coach of the girls cross country team Tricia Watson discussed what both cross country teams have been working on in practice and how no longer having to wear masks outdoors, unlike last year, is a key adjustment for proper pacing and breathing rhythms.
“This year, we’ve focused on race strategy and going out quickly at the beginning of a race to get a good place among the pack,” Coach Watson said. She also discussed how many of the players haven’t had a real high school cross country experience. “I think we’ve all done a good job of that so far, but with so many members that haven’t experienced a real season due to COVID-19, we’re still working on finding the right pacing throughout the three miles,” she said.
Coach Watson also made note of the great dynamic on the girls cross country team in particular. “We always encourage each other during workouts as well,” she said. “We all arrive at KO and depart for the meet together. We warm up as a team before the race.” Coach Watson also always has a pep talk ready before they head to the start line.
Though the girls team is small, consisting of only 11 girls, they are quite mighty. The girls team showed off their hard work in practice and had a tremendous start to the competitive season. This past Saturday during the Canterbury Invitational, the girls cross country team placed 1st out of 11 teams with a score of 73 points. The girls also had two finishers in the top 10, senior Captain Olivia Reynolds in sixth place with a time of 22 minutes, 5 seconds, and sophomore Kami Tarantino in seventh place with a time of 22:13. Reynolds and Tarantino were recognized in the awards ceremony at the end of the meet.
The boys cross country team has had a bit of a slower start to the season. Led by senior Captain Sam Merkatz, the team has focused on stamina, focus, and determination, which are similar to skills the girls team is working on as well.
The boys will continue to strive for success as the season progresses. There are still plenty of miles to run, and the team will only get better, stronger, and faster as the season moves forward. Within the boys team, there has been a standout player in sophomore Carson Zielinski. He has consistently been a top performer and a high finisher at every meet thus far.