Cross Country is off and running

Runners, though few in number, are chasing success


Laurie Hayes

The girls at their first match

Nicholas Culross, Staff Writer

As we kick off our new school year, the cross country team is working hard and preparing for their first meet. Following our year of COVID-19, teams throughout the school are starting to feel a sense of normality as protocols begin to lift, and are eager to get their season off to a good start.  Mr. Gillin, the cross country coach, talked with me about the hopes for the team this year and how last year’s pandemic affected them.

Sutton News: “Do you think you prepared any differently due to last year’s restrictions?”

Coach: “No, I don’t really feel I’m preparing that much differently for this year, but obviously last year was a big structural change to what we are used to. Things this year are on more of the normative side. You just can’t put COVID aside and pretend it’s not there, however, since things can change quite quickly.

The team this year, unfortunately, is not as strong numbers wise as it used to be. With only six male runners and four female runners, the team is unable to compete and place with so few people participating. Since you have to count the scores from your first five runners in cross country, there needs to be at least five runners from both the boys and girls group.”

Sutton News: “How does the scoring in cross country differ from the scoring in track?”

Coach: “Cross country, in terms of scoring, is similar to golf–low score wins. For the most part, the place you finish is the amount of points you get, with first place scoring one point, and third place scoring three. You have to count your first five runners as your numerical scorers, which we unfortunately don’t have the luxury of having this year. We only have six boys and four girls, and you need five to score in a meet. If we don’t add another female in the next day or two, just like in 2019 when we had one of the best runners in the district, we are unable to score no matter how good we do.”

Sutton News: “What is the end goal of the season? What are you working up to?”

Coach: “Well, again, without a girls team we will have to forfeit every meet. We could place first, second, third and fourth and we would still lose because we don’t have one more girl to start and cross the finish line. Jokingly but seriously, I would love a 9th-12th grade girl to walk the course. With only six on the boys team too, injury could put us in a place where the boys team can’t score either.”

For the past few years here, the cross country team has dwindled in numbers. Coach Gillan said “it’s been a trend for the past three years here, which is a bit frustrating as a coach trying to entice people to join”.

Sutton News: “I know you said you don’t have a lot of runners this year, but is there anyone who stands out in particular?”

Coach: “I don’t like to focus too much on certain people. It’s interesting, though, because the girls group is all sophomores, and if we get more females the team has a large potential to grow. The boys are a bit of a different story, with three seniors being strong runners, one sophomore and one freshman. Next year we’ll lose those seniors, and the potential for a three person boys team becomes possible.”

They are keeping their hopes high, and the potential for cross country at Sutton High School is there. We just need more people to join.