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Running for a Better Tomorrow

Kheyal Roy-Meighoo

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Over the weekend of August 27th, 2016, the Cross Country team participated in a meet against many other schools.

Over the weekend of August 27th, 2016, the Cross Country team participated in a meet against other high schools.

The Decatur High School (DHS) cross country team has changed the requirements needed to make varsity and receive a varsity letter.

The new qualifications require that you must either be in the top seven in the regional competition or be one of the top seven runners at DHS.

The coach of the cross country team, Mary Souther, felt that the loose requirements for varsity in years past left room for arguments and complaints from both athletes and parents.  

“It was kind of like, ‘Oh, we feel like you’re [good enough to be on] varsity,’ and the coaches thought that opened up a lot of room for bad feelings.”  Souther explained how the coaches had no justification for who they put on varsity and why, making several students and parents upset.

Many members of the team have no problem with the requirements.  One of the student coaches, Sam Ellis, believes that these requirements are necessary in order for people to pay more attention to the cross country team.  

“In years past, cross country has been seen as, well, not a joke, but just not as serious as track or other sports. … If we make it so that it’s more competitive and a team trying to actually do something at state [tournaments], I think we’ll be a lot better,” Ellis said.  The only people against these regulations, according to Ellis, are the runners who are not committed to the sport.

Souther explained how she “tried to pick [5k] times that were challenging, but not impossible.”  Souther also explained how the requirements do not only allow for the fastest runners to make varsity, but also allow for runners in the “middle of the pack” to advance as well.

Sophomore Maggie Carlton runs in a meet against other cross country teams.

Sophomore Maggie Carlton (left) runs in a meet against other cross country teams.

However, there are some runners who think these requirements are a little challenging to meet.  Ninth grade runner Marianna Downey made the varsity team this year, but she has a few concerns about the new regulations.  “I like the rules, but I’m kind of nervous because they cut varsity people.”  Another ninth grade varsity runner, Adelaide Taylor, has similar concerns.  “I’m a little scared about getting cut.”

Souther said that she “feel[s] like we’re finally pulling even with other teams.”  Souther explained how they have “never set the bar so high, and we’re trying to push the bar a little higher for our team.”

The new requirements for the varsity team are difficult to meet, but the majority of the runners are committed to cross country and will push themselves to meet these qualifications.  Ellis hopes the regulations will make the team even better.  “We wanted to make it so that the people running actually cared and were faster and stronger and more committed.”  Taylor and other runners strive to meet these regulations to the best of their abilities.  “I wake up really sore, but it’s worth it.”

 

Photos courtesy of Mary Souther

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About the Writer
Kheyal Roy-Meighoo, DEC Producer
Kheyal Roy-Meighoo (Class of 2019) is a dedicated journalist who will stop at nothing to get to the truth.  She spends her time learning, making music, crafting, drawing, advocating for equality, Model UN-ing, helping the environment, and investigating!  Beware of this 5’2 ½” menace!
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