By Maggie Deller
The McNick Cross Country Team consists of eleven female runners and eighteen male runners. Towards the end of the fall season, however, the number of runners decreased due to the many injuries that runners are prone to. With the weather warming up again, many runners are beginning to trade in their winter sweats for their running shorts, but because of the small size of the cross country audience, many do not understand what the sports is and why people run.
“I like to run cross country because even though it is awful while you are running, you get such a great feeling after,” freshman runner Casey Marshall said.
Junior Hunter Evans said he runs cross country since, “I’m not good at any other sport because I don’t have hand-eye coordination.”
On why she runs, junior Lilly Osterday said, “I don’t know, I really don’t. My sister just told me to like six years ago.”
Cross Country can seem confusing to some, since in many sports, running is sometimes used as punishment. However, the sport does have good aspects. Freshman Olivia Rohling said her favorite part of cross country is going to pasta parties with friends. Runners gather for pasta parties the night before a meet to eat carbs and pump each other up to run. Marshall confessed that her favorite part is “when it’s over.”
“My favorite part is the team,” Osterday said. “[Running] keeps me in shape, makes me feel good, and overall makes me healthy,” she added.
As well as positive aspects, cross country also, admittedly, has negative aspects. Evans said his least favorite part of the sport is “when it’s really hot outside and [we] have to do a hard workout and it’s just miserable.”
Cross country’s crowds consist mainly of the families of some runners. Rarely does the Launchpad come to support the team. This raises the question: Why?
Rohling considers cross country to be unpopular “because we don’t get a lot of funding and nobody recognizes it because it’s a lot of work to keep up with the runners rather than just watching a field.” She added, “I mean it would be nice to get some recognition, but it’s also good that we don’t have large crowds because [runners] are not pressured to do well when no one’s watching.”
Many of the runners do not mind the crowd size. Evans said cross country is unpopular because, “it’s just people running.” He added, “I think the crowds are a good size; I don’t want to be overwhelmed by a lot of people shouting at me.”
“I feel like a lot of people don’t consider it to be a sport, which it really is,” Osterday said. “It should be popular, but I wouldn’t consider it to be.” She added that she doesn’t mind the small audience. “I don’t mind. It’s really a personal journey through the course rather than something people need to watch.”
“It’s very unpopular because at our last meet when it was senior day, only about two people showed up [to watch],” Marshall said. “I think [cross country] is overlooked.”
“Join cross country in the fall; we need more girls especially,” Osterday said.
Junior Lilly Osterday runs on McNick’s Cross Country Team for her third year. The sport attracts small spectator crowds, but many runners, including Osterday, shared that they don’t mind the smaller audience size.