Cross country runners say Covid-19 can’t break their stride

Nov. 6, 2020

By Emma Ferschweiler

Senior captain Tanveer Kaur ran across the dirt road with the winding flags in her sight. With the last push, she crossed the finish line on Oct. 24 at the Garret Invitational in Woodland Park. While Kaur finished 12th in the race, her pod finished third at the invitational event.

Kaur joined LHS’ cross country team as a junior but has been running cross country for the past four years. She said this season is more challenging because of the coronavirus.

“Covid-19 has affected my season,” Kaur said. “We would usually run at different courses and had more meets, but this year it is limited.”

While this year was off to a unique start, Kaur said she remains hopeful. The girls placed second at the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Girls Divisional Championships on Oct. 21 at Garret Mountain. The boys did not have a full team of five runners. Therefore, they did not place.

The team started the season strong, but Kaur said there is still work to be done.

“The team this year is amazing. Some improvements that may be needed are to break personal records,” Kaur said.

She said attitude plays a role in the team’s success because maintaining a positive mindset leads to positive outcomes.

“Knowing that you could do it and believing in yourself will result in victory, whether or not it’s [resulted] in winning the race,” Kaur said.

Sophomore runner Tara Kibbe also said she is trying to stay positive. She said Covid-19 actually led her to join the cross country team.

“Cross country helped me find an escape during the pandemic and helped me finally find something I love to do,” Kibbe said.

She said this year’s runners can work on becoming more united as a team.

“Being able to celebrate with your teammates is satisfying during cross country season,” Kibbe said.

Kibbe said it is difficult to get through bad races and practices. However, she said she keeps herself motivated by her goals of beating personal records and winning meets.

“Cross country helped me find an escape during the pandemic and helped me finally find something I love to do.”

“When I do well, it feels like I’m on top of the world and like all my hard work paid off,” Kibbe said.

One of the team’s mentors is Assistant Coach Carucci, who runs on his own and has participated in marathon races. Carucci said he tries to keep the athletes motivated by sharing his passion for running and practicing with them.

“You keep having to get kids to push their limits and keep doing more and push themselves beyond what they ever thought they would be able to accomplish,” Carucci said.

He said runners with a negative mentality, especially during this pandemic, will not get the results they are looking for. He said in cross country, the harder the athletes work, the more inspired they will be to continue running.

“Even though a lot of times we’ll have the runners in smaller groups… just the fact that we’re able to be there with each other gives us that team mentality,” Carucci said.

He said this year’s team has a lot of grit. The team has had fewer meets than usual because of the coronavirus and needed to adapt to various safety precautions such as getting temperature checks, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask unless on the trail.

“A lot of things have changed, but the sport still looks like the sport. Once a race starts, it’s still a race,” Carucci said. “In that regard, Covid couldn’t get us.”

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