Cross Country Highlights–Traditions, Winners, Coaches, Parents and More


Kylie Callaway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Freshman Views

Several sports go on throughout the school year. One of the biggest organizations at NDA is the cross country team. In general, sports help individuals transition into high school. Specifically, in cross country, individuals are able to meet their teammates. This helped two of our freshmen, Amelia Chrudimsky and Morgan Gokey. They instantly made friendships and had a place to sit at lunch on the first day of school. Some of these friendships would not have been formed without the aid of Cross Country

“Cross country has been more welcoming than I could’ve ever believed. I’ve never been part of such a huge, energetic, and supportive team before. All of my teammates and coaches have been so accommodating,” said Amelia Chrudimsky.

This sport is highly recommended for incoming freshmen. The coaches and team are willing to help each individual get better. There is no need to have confidence on the first day. As the year goes on, you are able to build stronger bonds and form deeper connections with yourself. 

“I would recommend cross country to any incoming freshman even if you have never run before. The coaches are so nice and willing to help you become better at cross country. There are also so many great parents who help at Camp Gard and make race days so much more fun,” said  Gokey.

Cross Country is different from any sport. For this sport, it is both a team and an individual effort. There are no tryouts, and everyone walks away with a spot on the team. With almost seventy kids on the team everyone knows each other’s names. Through a race, you will never leave without someone yelling your name. 

Cross Country (Varsity Runners)

Parents have jobs and kids have homework. That does not stop Lauren Conway and Conner Hawley from taking first place at the City Meet. These two individuals have been a big asset to the cross country program.  

All of the kids on the team have a position. The coaches help to take care of everyone. There are many who are concerned about the many runners. They do not want anyone to have injuries and want everyone to succeed. Having at least ten coaches makes it easier to plan events. The runners get to know the coaches and the team members. Who runs varsity is dependent on the week, and it can change based on an individual’s improvement. The parents help to keep track of the runners who are running varsity each week. Not only this, but they also provide subs, wet towels, chocolate milk and water at the end of every meet.

Every year the team competes in a competition called the City Meet. Both of these individuals–Conway and Hawley– took first. Conway says that it was a shock to her. She did not expect to win, but she credited Coach Gard for her accomplishment.  He encouraged and believed in her.

Winning the City Meet has been Hawley’s goal since his freshman year. He and Matt Reynders are the only two boys to do so during Coach Gard’s tenure at NDA. 

“My journey to achieving my goal my freshman year is very exciting.  Also having the team win was another accomplishment. Every year we would get beaten by Preble, and it’s very exciting to finally win against them. City meet is a very competitive meet for Preble and NDA,” explained Hawley.

This year the Cross Country team is different. Last year, masks were required to run. There were no overnights at big meets, little team bonding and no bus rides. This threw off the atmosphere of the team. Being back to full capacity has made the team so much stronger. It is amazing to have Camp Gard and all of the other missed opportunities back. However, the cross country team is still cautious about the virus and hopes to stay safe. 

The cross country team is a big gang with great connections. The bonding that was lost last year helped improve the varsity’s connection. They are brothers and sisters to each other. They spend every weekend together. Being a team is a big part of it. 

I literally could not ask for better teammates. The varsity girls have been running together throughout the summer and now this season every day. We have grown so close. Everyone is so, so supportive of each other. If someone is having a bad day, the team makes sure to cheer them up. We have some healthy competition between the varsity girls, which really helps us improve. We are happy for each other’s successes and strive to keep improving ourselves,” said Conway. 

Everyone has put maximum effort into the team. Jackson Fogarty and Camille Broullire are constantly improving their time and pushing Hawley and Conway to improve.  Many other runners–Mia Miller, Dana Lunde, Kinsey Gallagher, Mia Lemkuil, Abby Haase and Anna Grusen–are constantly improving and holding the team together. 

Cross Country (Coach McGowan) 

The coaches increase the atmosphere at the meets and practice. They love seeing all of the athletes run to their potential and become connected to the group. Research argues running and other extracurriculars have helped students improve their studies. 

“Every team is unique and every team has its own personality. This team has a lot of new faces. We have 20-some freshmen on the team and that is awesome. People are pretty jovial and they have a good time. It’s a laid-back atmosphere. They work hard when they have to and have fun when they have to. That’s what I think about when I think of the team this year and they are doing very well,” said Coach McGowan.

The coaches are able to meet and observe new individuals through practice and eventually meets. There is so much joy and excitement at these competitions. And cross country is a team you can join anytime during the season.

“Yes, I would always recommend cross country to incoming freshmen. I’ve been running for over two decades and I’m glad freshman year in high school I decided to go out for cross country, not tennis. If I would have chosen tennis I would not have experienced this part of my life,” said Coach McGowan.