Stories And Inspiration
GO FAR Alumnae Credit Team Bond for Successful SeasonSubmitted by on Oct 29th 2020 - 12:00AM. | Perma Link
Team from left: Isabella Reid, Katie Grace Lavelle, Addison Chapman, Sophia Singer, Anna Sloan Culp, Grace Evans, Ali Schwartz, Caroline Griffith, and Kate Dyson
Before they were the top female runners at Westchester Country Day School, they were crossing finish lines at GO FAR 5Ks.
Now these sophomores and juniors are leaders on their high school cross country team. They finished the season strong coming in second in last week’s Piedmont Triad Athletic Conference championship.
Sophia Singer, Grace Evans, Ali Schwartz, Kate Dyson, Anna Sloan Culp, and Caroline Griffith all participated in GO FAR in elementary school.
Some of them are headed to the 2A cross country state championship this week at McAlpine Park in Charlotte. Their goal is to help lead their team to its first state victory in school history.
“After being state runner-ups the last two seasons, we are all excited to be state champion contenders as a team again this year,” junior Anna Sloan Culp said.
She’s grateful for the relationships she’s formed with her teammates, many of which go back to her days in GO FAR.
“Our team really values teamwork and having a ‘pack mentality’ when we run,” sophomore Caroline Griffith said. “We all work together and push each other so that we all have good results as a team.”
Junior Sophia Singer also credits those relationships to the team’s success. Seeing how her time mattered to the team helped her see how hard work leads to progress. “Knowing how important my personal score was for the team, I was able to push myself and help our team come in second in the state,” she said. “The more I put in, the more I got out.”
Individually, the teammates have also focused on overcoming their own challenges. Culp had little experience running for distance when she started varsity cross country in eighth grade. Her background with GO FAR and middle school cross country taught her to pace and persevere.
Sophomore Ali Schwartz has exercise-induced vocal chord lung dysfunction. It means she had to learn a complicated breathing pattern for running.
“Through some help from a speech therapist, I have learned how to control it better from the moment I start a race,” she said. “This has been a big obstacle in my running journey and very frustrating at times.”
Nerves and fear interfered with junior Kate Dyson’s performance early on because cross country focuses on individual races. “A runner has to be mentally strong to withstand the pressure and fully commit to the race,” she said.
For junior Grace Evans, the best part of running has been the sense of community. “Running cultivates a community that is kind, supportive, and inspiring,” she said. “Getting to spend time with others has been a constant source of motivation since my GO FAR days and I can trust it to continue to encourage me to get out and run.”
Best of luck to Westchester runners Ali Schwartz, Grace Evans, Kate Dyson, Anna Sloan Culp, Sophia Singer, Katie Grace Lavelle, and Addison Chapman this Friday in Charlotte!