Cross Country teams race against league schools 

Courtesy+of+Boys+XC+instagram

Courtesy of Boys XC instagram

Alex Lautin, Staff Writer

The Boys and Girls Varsity Cross Country teams competed this Wednesday in a meet with the Ivy Preparatory League schools in preparation for their biggest meet of the season this Saturday: the Manhattan Invitational.

This meet, the team competed against league schools in addition to Avenues, Sareena Parikh (12) said.

There are two cross country races: the 1.5-mile race for novice and freshmen and the 2.5-mile race for runners with more experience, Ahana Nayar (11) said. “Both courses are fairly hard because you’re running hills for the majority of the time,” she said. “It’s pretty difficult and strenuous and it takes up a lot of your energy.”

The first section of the 2.5-mile race is mainly flat, the middle section is the hardest section as it is almost all uphill, and the last section is the final 1000 meters of the race, Justin Burrell (12) said. “It’s really hard to continue to push it. So our strategy was to make sure we try to push it at the end and don’t really slow down,” he said.

For each meet, the team does both short runs and longer runs, Eric Do (11) said. On the day before the meet, the team takes it easy to allow their bodies to recover before the meet. “The main challenge was deciding how to prepare ourselves for Saturday without [injuring] ourselves,” he said.

Short runs help to build strength, while long runs help build stamina, Jake Ziman (11) said. “The strategy is not only to start fast and end fast but to maintain your speed throughout the race.”

At the meet, Burrell earned a personal record (PR), he said. He had been working on maintaining his energy at the end of the race and feels as though he was able to push during the last part, allowing him to best his previous PR, he said.

The hardest aspect of this season is maintaining team spirit because unlike soccer, football, or volleyball, Cross Country is a more individual sport and less of a team one, Burrell said. 

The team saw improvement from previous meets, Burrell said. “Over time, I’ve just been able to run longer distances which helps me [when] practicing for shorter races,” Parikh said. “The longer you run, the shorter the distance feels.” Parikh’s endurance has improved significantly since she started cross country in seventh grade, she said. 

The Manhattan Invitational on Saturday is the biggest race of the season, with around 100 schools attending the meet, Burrell said. At meets with more people, Burrell uses other runners as motivation to run faster. 

“Before [a meet], we’re kind of a tangle of nerves, but at the end, we all feel super proud of ourselves,” Parikh said.