By: Isis Trebble
Cross country is mental strength and determination. The sweat, heat, cold, wind, and rain make the skin tougher. Every cross country runner has gone through the elements and faced the challenges of feeling restricted by these forces and his or her own bodies. However, that doesn’t stop everyone. Freshman Maxwell Oliver, sophomore John Stewart, and senior Christian Barajas all achieved their own personal records (PR) for the three-mile race this season: Oliver’s PR was 18:11, Stewart’s PR was 18:23, and Barajas’s was 18:46.
For Oliver, it initially happened at DePaul Prep. He finished this race with a PR of 18:31. “During the race, I was going against people that were older than me and at a pace I couldn’t really keep up with,” Oliver said. His next PR was at Lewis University for the Catholic School Championship with a time of 18:11. “During the race, my team was slacking, and I knew I had to do something, and my teammate, Jack, gave a speech and that gave me motivation,” Oliver said.
Stewart made his first PR when he was a freshman at regionals at Washington Park with a time of 19:50. Now in his sophomore year, his PR is 18:24. ”When I ran, I didn’t care much about it. Yet, after I realized my time, I was ecstatic for I could see where my practice was coming and achieving the goal of running an 18 minute mile that was set at the start of the season,” Stewart said. He knew he could do whatever he put his mind to.
Barajas’s first PR was early in the season at Prosser High School, and he had a time of 19:07. However, as the season progressed, he knew he could do better. At Lewis University, for his conference meet, he ran a PR of 18:36. “It was a really big meet that was going to determine whether our season was going to continue. So, I wanted to do my part to make sure our team moved on to the next meet [which was regionals], especially since I was the captain, I didn’t wanna let my team down,” Barajas said.
For seniors Daniella Niño and Isabel Rocha, this was their last run as Meteors. “It was emotional. I knew every meet was my last as a De La Salle Meteor,” Niño said. Rocha added on to say that their coach, Coach Crosby, made the practices exciting and memorable. As these two seniors grew on this team throughout their high school careers, they grew as a family and as sisters. They cheered each other on and became one. As the season closes, that doesn’t mean they stop their passion. Rocha is going to continue running in college, but has not yet signed a letter of content. Niño will likely go to Calumet College of St. Joseph.