The RHS freshman girls cross country team started their season off with a bang, winning 2 of their first 3 meets. One of these meets took place on September 9 in Darlington, New Jersey, while the other on September 20 at Garret Mountain, New Jersey. Team members Kate Davis and Juliette Bergantino recall the experience.
“I was not expecting to be this successful at all,” Davis stated. “After we won the first meet, we were excited, but we had no idea it would happen again. After the second win, we began to realize our team was pretty good.”
“When I joined the team, I just thought the sport would be great exercise,” Bergantino said. “I soon learned our team was full of some pretty talented runners.”
Winning a meet is no easy task. At the freshman level, each girl has to run 1.8 miles. Some girls are able to run this is 12 minutes or less, running faster than 9 miles an hour.
The team with the best average times among all girls wins the meet.
“The sport is extremely strenuous,” Bergantino added. “It taxes every part of your body in every way.”
“When running the conditions are constantly changing,” Davis noted. “The temperature could be very cold, but after running for a little while you begin to get hot really fast. That doesn’t even account for the possibility of rain or lots of wind.”
The weather isn’t the only problem for the young runners.
“We run on a lot of different terrains, whether that’s pavement, dirt, sand, uphill or downhill,” Bergantino explained. “We always have to be mindful of what is ahead to be successful as well as prevent injuries.”
Injuries are extremely common among runners. Both Davis and Bergantino have endured shin splints, a common injury to teenage runners due to overworking leg muscles.
“It is really hard to not be able to help the team when you are injured,” Davis described. “You just want to go out there and run with them, but you just can’t.”
Although injuries have greatly affected many teams, these girls are not letting their injuries ruin their season.
“All you can do is ice and rest,” Bergantino mentioned. “There really isn’t a certain way to cure shin splints, so you just have to do your best. The desire to be back running with the team definitely speeds up the recovery process.”
The motivation of Davis and Bergantino, along with the other girls on the team, is something special. The team has around 10 meets left, and the girls are feeling optimistic.
“We started off the season kind of unsure,” Davis remarked. “But now we go to every meet pretty confident. Hopefully we can continue that for the rest of the season and for the seasons to come.”
Since this interview in early October, the girls cross country team has performed just as well as they had hoped to, winning first place in one meet and second place in another. Clearly these girls are a talented group that will be a force to reckon with as they become more experienced athletes.
Graphic: Juliette Bergantino