Being a part of the cross country team this season was more than just running with friends. I vividly remember the first day of practice when my new teammates and I huddled up for the first time, chanting the phrase: “one team, one family.” We huddled like this almost every day, whether it was during regular practices, meets or other special events. “One team, one family” wasn’t a motto that we just casually chanted every day, but it was also expressed during our most important times during the season. This simple phrase sticks with me because it perfectly encapsulates what this team and this season is all about.
One of the key components of why I find this team so special is how inclusive it is and how people treat each other on the team. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will be respected and find yourself at home when you are on this team. Being the diverse team that it is, you are bound to find people with similar or exactly the same interests to yours and ultimately create bonds with those people. I can’t count the amount of wonderful conversations I’ve had with teammates on a daily basis. Overall, everyone on the team has positively impacted each other in some way or form.
I really appreciate how the first-years were welcomed to the team during the first weeks of the season. The seniors did everything they could to make the new runners feel welcome and they definitely delivered. Before anyone knew it, the freshmen became a part of the team almost overnight. Even though I am a current sophomore, the loss of the 2020 season made me feel like a freshman. Although it seems obvious why I was feeling that way, as this was my first year running in college, I really lacked the social aspect during my freshman year and, as a result, didn’t have friends or know many students on campus. It also didn’t help that there was no cross country season in 2020 and less human connection in the 2020-2021 year overall. I am very glad I joined the team because meeting these amazing people on the team really improved my life.
In short, being a part of the cross country team this season made me appreciate the social aspects on campus that I didn’t have prior to this semester and because of that I will be eternally grateful to my XC family.
With the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships occurring on Saturday, Nov. 13, the season is over. Congratulations to both the men’s and women’s teams on great seasons!