Graham cross country hits mid-season stride

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Al Macnaughton

Lauren Pearce (10) finishes a lap on the trails at the city park.

In an unusual season due to Covid, the Graham Cross Country Team has hit the mid-season point. With only three regular season meets left, including their second home meet next Wednesday at Graham Middle School, the workouts for the CC team have intensified. In the last week, the team focus has shifted from workouts that emphasize building base mileage and keeping a consistent race pace to practices concentrating on stamina and mid-race speed. These workouts can range from 400 meters reps up to 1200-meter repeats. 

Although the workouts are hard and push their limits, the veterans on the team know these tough practices will pay dividends at Districts, Regionals and State. To keep things from getting too monotonous and to simulate meet conditions, Coach MacNaughton arranges to practice at a variety of locations around town and at City Park. 

On Monday, the team had one of their favorite workouts at a location they only run once a year…East River Mountain! Each year the team runs from the front of the high school all the way to the top of the mountain facing the school. Coach MacNaughton was proud to announce that everyone who attempted the run this year made it to the top and back a round trip distance of 6.6 miles! Another tough but team favorite workout is the t-shirt run. The runners are paired up with a teammate and alternate running laps on the track with each runner having to complete 10 laps. The winning team gets first choose of a selection of college CC t-shirts, the 2nd team gets to pick next, etc. With tired and sore muscles, everyone walked away with a new shirt and a sense of accomplishment. 

This Saturday, March 20th, the team travels to Hungry Mother Park in Marion. The team is looking to continue their development at this mid-season meet. Next Wednesday, March 24th, is the Graham Invitational at Graham Middle School. This will be an emotional event as the seniors run in their last home meet. For Senior Katie Benson she will be looking for her 2nd win in a row and a possible course record in her last home meet. Come cheer on the G-Men and G-Girls CC team at GMS, first race starts at 4 p.m.