Running. That word can lead some people to sprint for the comfy couch and wonderful junk food. However, Deer Park High School (DPHS) has a terrific team of hard workers that do it willingly, for entertainment, and even compete for it.
Cross Country requires both physical endurance and mental toughness. Students involved in it understand the pressure and work load it puts on them and they still work their hardest to improve, not just in Cross Country but, in all areas of their life. “You can never be satisfied with your training, because there is always room for improvement,” Sunny LaGrone, girls’ track and cross country coach said. She constantly encourages her runners in and out of practice and holds them to a high standard in hopes to help the students both in athletics and other areas of their lives.
In the Cross Country meet at Sugarland, two runners were badly injured. “The course we ran… was very hilly and the ground was uneven. The course included several hay bales for athletes to jump over and a lot of water for them to run through,” LaGrone said. Tori Johnson, a Sophomore, tore a ligament in her ankle during the race and still pushed through the anguish and finished the race. Also during the race, Jake Rawls, a junior, broke his foot. They are ready to race again however, both are on crutches and will not be competing for the rest of the season. Injuries such as these don’t happen often but are absolutely possible. Coach LaGrone recommends “stretching, icing whatever is sore and rolling out on rollers to loosen up muscles that are stiff and tight” to prevent most injuries.
The team is growing and very competitive. Each runner has at least one other student about the same speed as them and they will run together and encourage each other during races. “Their hard work and dedication have paid off and it shows in their race times,” LaGrone said. Between two hour practices every morning, Saturday practices, and some evening, the team spends a lot of time together. Their spirit shows through their encouragement and commitment to the sport. Some might hate or even be afraid of running, but the DPHS Cross Country team is excited to compete in the rest of the season and expect victorious results.