Chasing pavements

Jarvis places individually, but cross country team fails to qualify for regional competition

Chasing+pavements

Photo by Jordan Rowe

Story by Lauren Maynard, staff writer

Their stomachs churned with butterflies. They breathed in deeply, counted to three, and let it out slowly. It was time. For some it’s the last time, for some it’s the first time, and for others who had returned, but we’re not leaving in the next couple years. The misplaced ‘80s rock blared in the background of a close knit huddle of nervous teenagers. They say their final prayer, “Ah Texas,” clap twice, and walk in silence towards the start. Their faces were plastered with determination, yet, their eyes showed fear. It was district, their last time this season to give it their all. They are cross country.

“I couldn’t breath,” senior Chauzney Hooks said. “It was all happening so fast; I was ready to hear the blow of the gun go off, but then again I wasn’t.”

For upperclassmen, it was nerve-wrecking, but nothing new. For the new-comers, district was a whole new experience.

“It was good. We had run the course earlier in the season,” freshman Brett Denson. “I learned that at district everybody steps up their game and runs much faster, which did in turn push us even harder.”

The competition was more advanced this season compared to last year’s season, causing the switch in districts a hard hurdle to move around for the team.

“When you get into the higher levels of schools, they’re obviously going to have better runners,” senior Lauren Gibbert said. “Moving from 4A to 5A hurt our chances at qualifying for regionals greatly, but it did make us push harder than before to reach our goals.”

Not only was the competition a factor, but the course in and of itself was a major obstacle for the unit of runners.

“The Mount Pleasant course itself has always been a big obstacle of ours; it’s just not it,” Gibbert said. “It’s a hard course for us because it isn’t well-mapped out and it just seems longer than all the other courses we run.”

However, the underclassmen on the cross country team could argue otherwise.

“It was amazing, I loved it,” freshman Ryann Williams said. “It’s so much better than the middle school cross country districts, and the new experience with this team was astonishing.”

Whereas the cross country team as a whole didn’t quite qualify for regionals, Grant Jarvis pulled it through and placed individually.

“I ran under 16 minutes for a legitimate 3.1 mile course, and I’m thankful for the endless support and love of my fellow runners,” sophomore Grant Jarvis said. “This season still isn’t over because we are a team, and we are tiger strong.”