Running to Victory


The season is underway for the Lake Ridge cross country team as they are beginning to compete in weekly meets against some top competition. For each athlete, the goal is to improve each week and run a faster time than the previous one, while maintaining a family atmosphere. Ultimately, the team is striving to advance to regions and then onto the state meet.

Algebra I teacher and assistant cross country coach, Valerie Wootan, has observed the leadership of each athlete as they make progress throughout the season. She looks forward to watching each athlete decrease their 5k time each week, with the help of the senior athletes as leaders.

“We will continue to work on and improve until the very end. Daily hard work, pushing their teammates, encouraging throughout practices and meets, being inclusive and building that family atmosphere within the program. Right from the start, the seniors have been leaders.  They lead by example through their hard work and commitment, but they also are very encouraging with their teammates and inclusive. I love watching them lead every day,” said Wootan.

Each athlete has their own particular set of strengths and weaknesses. Senior, Hayden Mullins, is focused on encouraging his teammates while also working to better himself as a runner.

“I am focused on bettering my teammates each morning by bringing energy to our runs before school. Something that I hope to accomplish this season is a 17 minute 5K. I can improve my recovery time between days, for example, getting more sleep,” says Mullins.

It is important for teammates to encourage each other to get better every day. Senior and captain, Monte Thompson, admires the hard work of his teammates as he continues to give them feedback when needed. He plans to break records this season while serves as a leader on his team.

“I am most proud of our team spread, which is how close our runners are together in the race; we always have a very close spread. As team captain, I give my teammates advice on how they can improve on their crafts as runners. I hope to break the school’s 5k record of 16:36, which means I need to run 28 seconds faster than my personal best,” says Thompson.

For many, it can be difficult to wake up early in the morning, but the cross country team manages this difficult task. This is one of the ways that the team is able to bond with each other, along with many other experiences. Senior, Isabel Silva, looks forward to growing a tighter bond to her team.

“I am looking forward to the team bonding on the bus rides, locker rooms, and after finishing a race. There is always a new memory.I am honestly proud of getting up early everyday to run at practice before my day even starts. It is one of my biggest challenges,” said Silva.

The cross country team plans to continue their progress as the season continues. You can observe them putting in work in the morning around the school.