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Cross Country Bonds Together, Brings Home Medals

Karina Gonzalez and Deja Wesley

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At Cross Country meets, there is tension, panting, and lots of people cheering

The athletes have different ways they prepare for races, such as stretching with their teammates or being timed by Coach Skelton to check for improvement.

“After school, I run with my friends and try to get faster on my time,” Wilson Bonilla, 9th, said. “My coach is always running with us in the morning and trying to motivate us.”

Staying motivated during the run can be challenging.

“I push myself to my limits,” Josue Gonzalez, 9th, said. “Unless I’m bleeding or dying, then I keep going. I hope to pass the finish line with many people behind me.”

Others are motivated by their friends and families.

“They give me the strength to keep going,” Alec Sayvongsa, 9th, said. “I also tell myself ‘Pain is only temporary.’”

Coach Skelton, who has been coaching Cross Country here for the past six years, enjoys getting to guide these Raiders.

“What I enjoy most about coaching Cross Country is the fact that I get to build strong personal relationships with a bunch of kids who I otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to know on such a personal level,” Coach Skelton said.

Coach Skelton appreciates how easy the season has been thanks to the “excellent help and support” he has received from Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones, 7th grade science teacher, has been voluntarily assisting with the Cross Country program for two years.

“I’m most proud of our first year runners who decided to give Cross Country a shot this year,” Mr. Jones said. “We have more than twenty first-year runners, and this will only help our team going forward into next year.”

In early October, the Cross Country team, along with Mrs. Parnell, ran a 5K in the 2016 Survivors Challenge in honor of Coach East, former Kimmons counselor Mr. Seaton, and former Assistant Principal Norwood who passed away in June of 2015.

“Just being there was amazing because I got to support everyone struggling with Cancer, win or not,” Jaylei Bolton, 8th, said.

Freshman Marianna Hernandez placed third overall women’s finisher with a 5K time of 24:01, and Brian Arona placed first in his age division and 9th overall men’s finisher with a 5K time of 20:23.

“My goal was to try to finish the 5K in under 20 minutes because I like to push myself to do better,” Brian said.

Both Marianna and Brian went on to finish in the top ten overall at the Cross Country River Valley Championship at Van Buren. Wilson Bonilla, Erwin Espinoza, Kentarius Bradley, Natalie Estrada, and Kirsten Alvarez all medaled.

Coach Skelton is happy about how the Cross Country teams have gotten closer over the season.

“I’m most proud of the fact that there are several members of my team who have kinda ‘come outta their shells’ socially this year have made some more quality friendships,” Coach Skelton said. “Also, they have learned that they can accomplish more physically than they thought they could do.”

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Cross Country Bonds Together, Brings Home Medals