After the stroke of midnight on the first day of the fall season, the cross-country team is on the road together. This is the first organized practice the team can hold according the rules of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and at 12:01 a.m. we are laced up and ready to run.
The first time the team held Midnight Madness was just before my second cross-country season, as I was going into the 8th grade. Midnight Madness is a fun and sociable way to kick off the season. It allows all new members of the team to have a fun and welcoming first experience with the entire team. Everyone participates in team-wide games of soccer, ultimate Frisbee, dinner, and a movie throughout the evening.
I have been a member of the Randolph cross-country team since I was in the 7th grade and I have known Coach Twig even longer. I first met him at the "Run in the Sun" summer cross-country camp, before my 4th grade year. Throughout that time, Coach Twig has been my head coach, given me a job outside of school, and has been a source of motivation on and off the track.
Among other traditions the team carries out are a stay-overnight meet once a season. We have gone to Lexington, Ky. (twice), to Gainesville and Carrollton, Ga., and this year we are having our first meet in Memphis. The team also holds dinners at members' homes throughout the season on the evenings before races. These dinners are a great way for the team to carb up together and for more experienced team members to tell the younger students about the race course and strategy for the following morning. At the end of every season, the team members and their families gather together for a large lunch. Coach Twig traditionally bids farewell to that season's seniors and shares his perspective as a coach on how he has seen them grow and the seniors traditionally receive a framed collage of photos from their cross-country career.
Cross-country is not just running five days of practice a week with a race every Saturday, it is the best way I know for any student to be able to mature at Randolph. I remember every senior from when I started running on the team and each of them give me inspiration to work as hard as they did and to uphold the team's legacy. I honestly can't believe I'm in their place now after five seasons and that this sixth season will be my last.
Photos by Bruce Evans, father of Zoe ’18 and Jaya ’20