Cross Country Concludes with Home Sectional Meet


Morgan Rock

Abby Lahti, a freshman, attempts to get ahead in a sea of people for the Sectional meet.

Morgan Rock, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Cross-country is a running sport, but to some people, it is not a sport. They think just because you don’t get hit or shoot a ball, you aren’t an athlete. However, I know for a fact it is no easy task running over 3 miles as quick as you can in less than sub-par weather. Sometimes in cross country, you do a jump or you’re running up a hill, and you’re not sure if you’re going to stumble. Or maybe you’ve picked up a lot of mud on your shoes and they feel as heavy as rocks. Either way, you’re building enormous strength: The hills and mud develop power and resilience in your calves, hamstrings, and quads. The uneven ground strengthens your feet and ankles.

Because you’re forced to work much harder in cross country, you get more out of breath than you do on the roads. Your heart rate goes up more, too. And that’s a huge benefit. Off-road racing is a very effective way to develop your cardiovascular system, producing a powerful heart, an efficient set of lungs, and a dense network of capillaries to transport oxygen to the muscle fibers.

I think runners who’ve done cross country have the sort of strength necessary to cope when the going gets tough on the roads or the track. Because endurance running is largely about how you cope with these feelings. Mental strength is not about being fitter than the other guy; it’s about endurance and learning to suffer and dig deeper. When you overcome these hardships, you develop the confidence, the drive, the fierceness, and the aggression to really get the most out of all the physical training you’ve done.

Now, I do not compete in cross country and most of this information I have learned from the internet, other runners, and from just spectating these races. Take it from a sophomore, Natalie Knaack, cross country is no easy sport, but can be rewarding, “I like running in the woods actually, sounds weird, but it is pretty and it keeps me in shape for basketball. I think cross country is hard because a lot of people want to listen to the voice in their head that is telling them to quit, and you can’t, you have to keep running.”

The cross country team this year consisted of 15 middle-school athletes: Matthew Knaack, Conner Helenius, Daniel Truchon, Jed Lovejoy, Peyton Jardine, Christian Lovejoy, Brady Lahti, Samuel Swanson, Carter Lulich, Beau Reijo, Lily Truchon, Paige Lahti, RuthAnn Robinson, McKenna Coy, and Shaliyah Lovejoy. The high school team consisted of four athletes: Natalie Knaack, Ryan Durst, Dante Ray, Sawyer Schierman, and Abby Lahti.

The coaches this year were Marla Lahti and Beth Hoagland, along with their manager, Alyssa Kobie. Marla was proud of the progress her team made throughout the season, The cross country runners had tough conditions to race in for their last series of meets. They took on that challenge and had some of their best races.”

South Shore hosted the conference meet on October 11th.  Three South Shore runners ran in this meet.  Sawyer Schierman, Abby Lahti, and Natalie Knaack. Abby placed 9th of  39 runners with a time of 23:41.  Sawyer had a time of 21:49.  Natalie Knaack began her race strong and continued and completed the race even while battling through an allergic reaction, still placing 25th with a time of 26:26. Natalie comments on the extra obstacle she had to battle this meet, “I did still finish the race, but about halfway through I started to get an allergic reaction. My body started to itch, my eyes started to swell up, and it was really hard to breathe. I still finished the race because I thought it would be a really cool story to tell people someday.”

On Saturday, Oct. 20th, South Shore got to host the Sectionals meet at the Northern Pines Golf Course. Over 22 teams traveled to compete in this meet. Only two of our runners got to compete for Sectionals due to some ailments for the other runners. Wisconsin weather played its games with our athletes. Snow was still stuck to the ground, the temperature was around 30 degrees, and the wind was chilling.  Despite the cold, around 500 spectators came to support the runners.

Sawyer Schierman’s race was up first at 1:00 p.m. Runners were warming up with winter hats and gloves on. Some runners even had only a thin tank-top jersey on and small shorts. The runners took off in a sea of colored jerseys ready to take on the cold. Sawyer Schierman ran the course at a time of about 22:42.5. The winner of the boys’ race was Matthew Marcinske from Birchwood, with a time of around 17:01. The top five teams were Grantsburg, Unity, Solons Springs/Northwood, Chequamegon, and Butternut. Sawyer comments about the sport, “I like the endurance factor and how it betters me as an athlete. What makes it challenging is the weather, the coldness, and how far you have to run.”

Next up was Abby Lahti for the girls at 2:00 p.m. Abby was brave, not wearing a hat or gloves. After warming up, she got ready at the starting line, about to take on 97 runners. Abby completed her first Sectional meet as a freshman with a time of 25:13.2. Rachel Lawton from Flambeau won the girls’ race with a time of 19:33.6. The top five teams were Cameron, Phillips, Hurley, Chequamegon, and Shell Lake.