Cross country takes a running start

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Cross country takes a running start

The cross-country team found a mascot during practice.

The cross-country team found a mascot during practice.

Photo courtesy of Coach Pelinka

The cross-country team found a mascot during practice.

Photo courtesy of Coach Pelinka

Photo courtesy of Coach Pelinka

The cross-country team found a mascot during practice.

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Cross country may not seem like a very popular sport, but practices are much more fun than somebody might think. Eighth grader Gus Gotter said, “In a sense, cross country isn’t really a school activity. The coaches let us have fun but they keep it under control.”

A normal day of practice starts outside school by the batting cages. Cross-country coach, Mrs. Pelinka, rounds up all the kids and they head out for a warm-up run. When they get back, they start their active stretches. Afterwards, Mrs. Pelinka gathers all the kids around to get ready for a longer run, which is usually around 2-3 miles. 

In a sense, cross country isn’t really a school activity. The coaches let us have fun but they keep it under control.”

— Gus Gotter, 8th Grade

The route can be to Keller Lake through trails, around the neighborhood of Lac Lavon Lake, or even up to the water tower on 160th Street West. After they get to their destination, they play a game, run back to their starting point and play together, or just head home. Later in the year, they start running even longer distances, up to 5 miles in one practice.

“My favorite thing about practice is that each kid’s personal goals can be met, and you can push yourself, or if one day you’re not feeling well, you can hold back and not run as much,” Coach Pelinka said.

Cross country practices are almost like going on miniature adventures exploring the Apple Valley community. Mrs. Pelinka enjoys running to Keller lake for practices because the students can choose the trails they find to be the most suitable. She also loves to find new routes to run on with the kids because running on the same track can get boring. Having new scenery can make it more enjoyable. 

My favorite thing about practice is that each kid’s personal goals can be met, and you can push yourself, or if one day you’re not feeling well, you can hold back and not run as much.”

— Coach Pelinka

A few days ago, the team was running around the block of VMSS, and saw a husky dart from someone’s yard. It started chasing Mrs. Pelinka down the sidewalk, nearly knocking her over. The students stopped running to see the cute dog. A woman came over to them, and said she would take the dog. She’d keep him with her while she calls the authorities to take him in. The runners sadly said goodbye to the dog and continued their run. 

A normal weekly routine starts off as Monday usually being a long run day. Almost every Tuesday, they have a meet. Wednesday works as a recovery day from the Tuesday meet. Most Thursdays are meets, and Fridays are “DQ Days” where the runners go to Dairy Queen and buy a treat.

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