Most people consider Cross Country to be a monotonous, dull, and utterly boring sport both to participate in and to watch, but on Thursday, September 23rd, the Casady running team could not have proved this stereotype more wrong.
The morning of the race dawned bright and blessedly cool, with everyone on the team looking forward to the 3.2-mile run. The team members left classes and boarded the bus at approximately 11:45 AM, arriving at O’Brien Park just in time for the Varsity Girls team to begin warming up before the first race of the day.
When asked her goal for the race mere minutes before the gun went off, Julia Jacknecht (‘22) said that she wanted to focus on “running my own race.” Whatever tactics Jacknecht used to keep her focus on her goal undisputedly paid off, as she beat her previous 5K time (23:56) by exactly one minute (22:56), and earned a 25th place medal. Shanta Ramdas (‘21), received a 3rd place medal out of a total of 84 runners, and Anna Unvari (‘21) scored second on the team, earning a 19th place medal.
At approximately 4:00 PM, the varsity boys race began. Before many spectators had even realized that the race had begun, Larry Mathis (‘21) had eliminated any possible competition for first place. Mathis finished the race 1:06 minutes ahead of the second place runner, with a personal record time of 15:46. Scoring 13th place was Ashton Hale (‘25), with a personal record of 17:42. Hale was followed closely by freshman Ayden Kerr, who had a personal record two seconds behind Hale’s and placed 14th overall. David Craine (‘22) was proud to run 0:31 seconds faster than his previous 5k time and earned a 21st place medal.
Thirty minutes after the start of the varsity boy’s race, the gun sounded that initiated the start of the JV girls’ run. Any cross country runner can understand the mental struggle during a race just to keep from walking, and Julia Ungvari (‘25) finished with a personal record, saying that she was “proud that I was able to run the whole race without stopping.”
The meet finished off with the JV boys race, and Casady runners were more than satisfied with their strong conclusion to the meet. Erik Pascual-Rosales (‘21) placed 15th out of 130 runners and earned a personal record of 20:26. Pascual-Rosales was followed closely by Consheng Zheng (‘21), who received a 16th place medal with a personal record of 20:30. Aaron Chang (‘21) also medaled in the race and placed 22nd with a personal record of 20:57.
While everyone on the team did well in their placement, it was clear that they were most proud of the way they were able to push themselves during the race and get past whatever mental or physical barriers were previously slowing them down. Varsity runner Jonah Craine (‘21) summed up the race perfectly minutes after he crossed the finish line: “Cross country is a difficult sport that takes a lot of mental and physical strength. The fact that Casady runners were able to go out and push themselves really shows the strength of this team.” With lots of training in the blazing heat under their belts, athletes are excited to show off the rewards of their hard work in the five cross country meets left in the 2021 season.