Cottonwood High School hosts one of the “coolest sports ever, and that is cross country,” said Cottonwood junior Nate Boone. XC (cross country) is a long distance running sport, where athletes run up and down mountains or on dirt, grass, or asphalt. The races can range from 2 to 3.1 miles. The distance of the races depends on where the meet is located. Cross Country tests the runners’ distance ability to see how fast and long they can run in a race.
Cottonwood’s XC team has been practicing from the start of summer through the fall season. In the summer, they practice from 7 am-10 am Monday to Friday, and after school they practice from 2:30 pm-4:30 pm everyday. They run from 2-9 miles at practice. Their workouts involve speed workouts like 4×200, which means athletes run 200 meters, 4 different times. Athletes also perform distance workouts like 6×400, which is running around the track 6 times.
The XC team has between 25-26 runners. Junior Cody Madsen is the team captain. Rachel Nielsen is the girls’ captain, and Willis Allen is the boys’ captain. Their top runners for girls varsity and boys varsity are Lilly Evans, who runs a 19:41 minute 5K (3 miles), and Cody Madsen who runs a 16:08 in the 5K. However, there are a few athletes who are gaining on the top runners. For the boys’ team this includes senior Willis Allen, sophomore Skyler Watts and freshmen Crew Simpson. Freshman Chloe Myers, Junior Rachel Rosenberg and senior Rachel Nielsen are rising stars for the girls. Athletic.net shows that the entire team is improving.
Cottonwood’s XC coach is Jason Baker, also known as Coach Baker. He ran for BYU and now coaches at Cottonwood High School. He was a state champion and an all state athlete in high school for XC and track. Baker also coaches track and teaches biology, AP biology, and a dinosaur class with Mr. Affolter. Baker said, “So a lot of the season is to make sure we get better quality miles. That includes pre-season. We are building more of a base. We are doing a better quality technique and running form and better strategies and workouts. And so far training is going pretty healthy so far. The kids have been having a better attitude on getting stuff done, but there needs to a better mind set on winning.”
The cross-country team has participated in over 7 meets from August 17th-October 5th. On the 22nd of September, the XC girls won 3rd place, beating the other 5 schools that aren’t in their region. After that, when they came back to practice the following Monday, they came to practice with the trophy. The girls’ team, which includes seniors Juliana Banks, Kaylee Stettler, and Rachel Nielsen; juniors Abby Almas, and Rachel Rosenberg; sophomores Lilly Evans, Maggie Driggs, and Siarra , and freshmen Chloe Myers and Lilly Golden, all held hands and walked a victory lap around the track.
Now that cross-country season over, during their race on October 18th, they showed all the other schools in the state how Cottonwood does what they do, and how much improvement they’ve made for the season. Because like runner Skyler Watts said, “We are the champions.” Indeed they have been showing all the schools all over the state of Utah, including their rivals, that this small team from Cottonwood is made of champions.