Crossing the finish line: Cross Country

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Crossing the finish line: Cross Country

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

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The Jackson Prep Cross Country team made its first showing at the Jackson Prep home meet on Monday, September 9th.  The teams ran around the Jackson Prep campus instead of heading to Choctaw Trails, where most of the cross country meets are held.  This home meet was supposed to be the team’s second meet, but the JA invitational at Choctaw Trails was cancelled and never rescheduled due to rain.  

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

This meet was also affected by rain.  Around fifteen minutes before the starting time of the girls’ race, the 5K was cut down to a two mile race.  This was problematic for the varsity girls because they were prepared for a 5K, not a two mile race.  But the Jackson Prep girls pushed through the challenge and succeeded. Julia Stradinger, a sophomore, took first place.  Gracie Atkinson, a freshman, placed fourth.  Kimmons Shepard, another freshman, placed ninth, and Havens Smith, a sophomore, placed thirteenth.

The boys’ race went the same as the girls’ did.  The boys also ran a two mile race due to a storm threat, but won despite the late schedule change.  It began raining during the end of the race, but not heavily enough to call off the race entirely.  Preston Speed, a junior, placed third in the boys’ race.  Alex Stradinger, a senior, placed sixth.  Charlie Hight, a sophomore, placed sixteenth, and Alex Roberson, a junior, placed nineteenth.  

After the scores were calculated for both races, the Jackson Prep Cross Country team won overall first place at the first meet of the year.  Well, the first meet that wasn’t canceled.

Photo by Lauren Anne Smith

Cross country is one of the most popular sports at Prep and is made up of a large portion of the student body.  Practice begins at 6am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school.  The team also had summer training that began in June and ended the week before school started.  With the intense practice schedule in the Mississippi heat, it’s a wonder that the cross country team is one of the largest at Jackson Prep.  The camaraderie between the team members is strong despite cross country being an individual sport.  Through the tough practices, the team has banded together to support each other through whatever goals they set for themselves.  Neha Adari, a senior, says that “my only rival is myself” when she trains for meets.  That idea of competing against yourself is what the cross country team thrives on and what will help them make this year a successful one.