Their legs begin to get heavy, arms start to get weak, palms are sweating, lungs are working overtime, their heart pounds as the sweat beads roll down their faces as they approach the finish line.
Cross country is not a sport for the weak hearted. With intensive training during the summer months, FC’s cross-country long-distance runners use their commitment to team work, inner strength and physical agility to dominate this competitive sport for fall and winter competitions.
“There’s a lot of mental work involved, with keeping your pace to trusting and running with your team mates,” said head coach of cross country, Gina Bevec.
Historically, cross country running was developed out of a variation of 19th century English sports, such as ‘Hare and Hounds,’ where runners ran for miles through rugged dense terrain. Currently, the sport relies on paved obstacle courses, heavily on team cohesion and individuals must run together collectively in order to place high in the competition.
Hornet runners showcased their dedication when they hit the mark at the OEC Championships this past weekend at the Riverside City Course. Both men and women’s team placed as one of the top five teams in the region that will be going to the SoCal Championships in early November.
“I honestly feel good about it, Andrew, Mauro and I, are trying to consistently break 22’s,” said freshmen runner Ian Rusk, who has garnered an impressive speed of 22:29 for a 4-mile race.
Runners have shown explosive progression from the start of the season up until now. Their first fall competition of the semester was at the Palomar Invitational. The men’s team, which is comprised of twelve runners, made it towards the top ranking 4th place out of 7 teams, gaining 123 points. The women’s team following close behind the lead in with seven runners ranking 7th out of 8 teams, while gaining 150 points.
“I believe right now we are at a better place than what we started with and what we saw as coaches is finally coming into fruition, this next race will really show what we’re all about,” Bevec said.
Currently the top three runners from both teams with the lowest times are Andrew Fernando, Ian Rusk, Mauro Rosales, and on the women’s, Rebecca Perez, Raquel Aldama and Bryseda Lopez-Martinez. With the most recent OEC Conference race, runners will continue to elevate as they set challenging new goals.
Hornet runners prove that mental stability and focus are essential to run the entirety of a race.
“I have a few things that I normally keep on my mind while running, first and foremost it’s my relationship with God,” said Raquel Aldama, as she shines bright with a speedy time of 21:49. Aldama also explained that her drive comes from people in tough situations that need to be freed.
Cross country is a sport that showcases patience, consistency, and self-endurance; providing essential skills and attributes helping student athletes along the way even after the race has been run.
Coach Bevec, has devoted 11 years of her career alone to training the FC cross-country teams, and overall has spent 25 years coaching at FC. “My passion has always been to take and work with young athletes and make them into something that takes them beyond what they are even capable of doing. What drives me is getting an athlete, training them and seeing them succeed to their fullest,” Bevec added.
Up next for the Hornets will be the SoCal Championships at Don Knabe Regional Park in Cerritos starting at 10 a.m.