NDA Cross Country Still Running

Will Drake, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy Cross Country is back. . . . with some major changes.

In August the FRCC moved all fall sports to spring, but NDA has been trying to compete in the traditional fall season.

The Tritons began work on September 1, a delay from past years..

The Tritons have been running against teams such as  Neenah, Oshkosh Lourdes and Gillet. 

Coach Cassidy McGowan said,  “Corona has caused meets to be run differently. There are no awards, and there are delayed starts in which runners wear their masks to the start line.  Also, there are temperature checks and constant vigilance for spacing.”

The Tritons have another challenge: they moved up from Division 2 to Division 1 and will have to compete against West De Pere, Port Washington and Neenah.

The environment has also changed a lot as the meets are a lot less packed than they used to be.

THe toughest change is psychological, according to McGowan “The running is great, but staying away from others, wearing a mask and being concerned about an outbreak on the team has been the hardest aspect.”

Last year the Tritons competed against 10+ teams in multiple meets.  Now that’s just not the case.  

In fact, with the switch to virtual learning, the team and coaches met this week to discuss whether to continue the program now or switch to a spring season like many other Wisconsin teams plan to do.

Ultimately, because so many runners have scholarship potential the coaches voted to continue the fall  program with only 14-15 runners per each team. 

“Running in the snow just didn’t seem realistic to us,” explained McGowan.  “We will still have a team banquet with awards–virtual banquet, of course.”.

Junior Conner Hawley explained the team’s situation.  

“We still are fighting together to get through this,” he said.  “We’ve been working very hard as a team to make sure we will have a sectional and state this year.”

For the upperclassmen runners this is a big change from years past but one constant is the attitude, said senior runner Jack Christensen.   

“Perseverance is something that every athlete needs to have in their mindset during every practice and every game. For me personally, I know I do my best when I’m pressured the most or am being pushed. Focusing on goals like time and placement allows me to keep enduring through races and do my best.”

Through all this uncertainty the focus on running and self improvement remains at the forefront of cross country.

Sectionals for the Tritons are  October 31.