It happens to the best of us, writes Garrett Hagood '15, that day where everything is just going wrong; your head feels like it’s going to not only explode but implode as well. You reach out your hand to grasp for a ledge, just to keep you from falling until rescue can arrive, and you find something there. It may not be what you expected, but it’s what you need. For me, Randolph Cross Country is this ledge.
At Monte Sano, when Coach Twig tells us to simply run out across the mountains into the woods for 40 minutes, a small amount of dopamine fires off amongst my neural receptors. I don’t want to be that clichéd runner, but honestly this for me is a chance to just escape. Forty minutes where I don’t have to think, where I don’t have to worry about all the rubbish that gets endlessly thrown at me. For that short time, it’s just me, the woods, the cool air, and that feeling that I can go anywhere atop that skyward mountain.
Running cross country puts a lot of pressure on me, writes Grant Ginsburg '15, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I remember at our  state meet, as I walked to the start, I was nervous. The fans were screaming, my heart was pounding, and then the gun went off. I knew it was going to be a long race, but I couldn’t ruin the seven state championships in a row that past teams had put together.
I heard all the spikes thumping against the ground and the many kids pushing to start strong, but I decided to zone in and focus on how I would run this race. I couldn’t hear a sound, well besides my strong breathing, but that just helped me put the correct pace together. I zoomed past runners, one by one, but once I reached third, there was nobody in sight.
I ran my heart out, but still I was alone on the course, searching for what seemed to be the two lost competitors in front of me. I hit the 3-mile marker knowing that I failed to catch the top two, but that didn’t stop me from sprinting through the finish. I did not win, but I could taste our 8th team championship because I saw Randolph jerseys darting past our rivals to secure our win. I didn’t get first, but when Randolph was announced as the champion, I knew that it was better than being the individual winner. This race was full of tension, but our team stayed focused and finished with the rings.
Photo: David Brown