Stories And Inspiration

GO FAR Experience, Confidence Give Cross Country Team Members Edge

Submitted by Anonymous on Oct 23rd 2015 - 8:00AM. | Perma Link


(Above) Cross country members who started with GO FAR include, from left to right, Charlotte Martin, Sophia Singer, Kate Dyson, Olivia Beaver, Anna Sloan Culp, and Mollie McWhorter. (Below) The girls with their Westchester Country Day School team.

Thanks to GO FAR in elementary school, the transition to the middle school cross country team at Westchester Country Day School has been smooth for several of its members.

Now in sixth and seventh grades, the girls continued with running because it’s fun and comes much more naturally now.

Jeb Burns, Westchester’s middle school cross country coach, said this season’s runners from GO FAR seemed to have a better sense of the work required of them than kids who didn’t have that experience. “They seemed to really enjoy their time. They were upbeat and positive,” he said. “There was a distinct difference.”

The GO FAR experience gave the girls an edge in training and in meets. “They were confident, and they were not freaked out by running a two-mile race with 200 people,” Burns said. “They knew what to expect.

“They were also easier to train,” he said. “They seem to realize more than the others that the rewards come with hard work.”

GO FAR taught important running basics. “We learned ‘in through your nose and out through your mouth,’” said sixth-grader Anna Sloan Culp.

“Our coach had the talk test when you were running, if you could speak clearly and not get out of breath,” sixth-grader Olivia Beaver said.

Without guidance, Kate Dyson said she would have gone too fast at races, admitting she couldn’t do the talk test.

For the sixth-grader, GO FAR provided a strong female role model in her coach, new venues in the spring and fall races, and new motivation. “She liked beating her mom, so her time became a new concept—how to improve your time—and she found great pleasure in this,” said mom Sara Dyson.

As Kate has moved up to the middle school cross country team this year, she has found ways to improve, placing third for Westchester at meets. “Especially because she is the youngest child, it gives her a sense of pride since her older sister does not run and she can excel in a sport,” Sara said.Westchester_team

Excitement shows when the girls talk about running. They said they’re better runners now, they’ve become faster, and they’re sometimes up for a schoolyard challenge. “You can beat your classmates and that’s always fun,” said seventh-grader Mollie McWhorter. “I like racing people.”

“I like winning,” sixth-grader Charlotte Martin said. “I like practicing because I get better and better.”

“It’s not easy for her,” said mom Xuan Trang. “It’s hard to run three miles.”

Putting in the practice has been important though. Burns said their team was at a disadvantage this season. “Half the team was sixth-grade girls,” he explained. “I had only two male runners. We competed in co-ed meets against teams who had a lot of eighth-grade males.”

As the season progressed though, three out of the top five scoring runners on the team were sixth-graders with GO FAR experience, according to Burns. Next year, when meets are split into boys and girls, he thinks the girls will do well.

Their excitement for running will help. Just ask them what it’s like to run a race.

“There’s a lot of people cheering you on,” sixth-grader Sophia Singer said.

“In races, it’s like, really thrilling,” said Anna Sloan.

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