Garfield’s cross country team is off to a strong start this year, with new head coach Kangas leading the way. Although the official season starts in March, runners have been participating in pre-season practices in September.
“It’s very new and different, but it’s a good opportunity for cross country athletes to train year round despite not having a normal season,” senior team captain Sophia Crysanthakopoulos said. Besides a 2-week break that will happen in mid-December, the Garfield cross country team will hold practices from now until the very start of the season.
For pre-season practices, runners are divided into pods of five people, each pod meeting at the track at a different time slot to start their practices. Before beginning practices, pods check in with the coaches to take their temperature, make sure everyone is taking precautions to ensure the safety of the team, and of course to make sure everyone is wearing a mask and social distancing. Although the team has been continuing on with the season despite setbacks, it has a different dynamic than the previous years.
“The cross country team is a lot about community, so COVID has made it feel a little more isolated”, said Crysanthakopoulos. However, working around those problems has brought out the best in the Garfield athletes.
“In smaller groups, there’s less interaction with the captains so it’s cool to see people stepping up and being leaders within their pods,” senior captain Aaron Banse said.
Although the season is cut short this year, officially starting in March and ending in May, coaches and athletes have kept the same attitude as previous seasons.
“Don’t hesitate to reach out and join,” said Crysanthakopoulos. “It’s fun, a great way to get fit, and there’s a place for everyone.”