Girls cross country’s moves for upcoming meets


Catie Clark

The Girls’ Cross Country team pauses during a practice leading up to a meet.

With the season in full swing, Girls’ Cross Country spends their hour and a half practices doing many activities to prep for their meets. 

“Every day is different for Cross Country,” said Charlotte Callahan, sophomore. Callahan is on the frosh/soph team and has been running since seventh grade.

The team sometimes goes on long runs, or they will work on speed training.

“We usually run for 30-50 minutes and then we come back inside and stretch,” said Megan Lu, freshman. “We do some core workouts, some push-ups, sit ups, and other things like that.”

The practices also depend on which level the runner is on. The program currently has a frosh/soph team, a JV team, and a varsity team.

“Varsity practices are a little longer and more intense than the JV and frosh/soph teams,” said Coach Hatzikostantis, who has been coaching cross country for five years.

The team always practices to perform well at future meets, which happen usually one to two times a week. The meets begin with a warm up, which is around ten minutes. Then, the runners compete in their three-mile races. After they complete their races, they do a cool-down run for around 8-12 minutes.

There are also different types of meets that the team participates in.

“Dual meets are against some of our conference teams during the week, and invitational meets can be against a lot more teams, some in between 40-50 teams,” Coach Hatzikostantis said.

Depending on the type of meet the girls will participate in determines what they do at their practice. 

“The day before [a meet], practice is normally easier and we call it a ‘shake out’ day,” Callahan said. “On race day, we always listen to music on the bus to get excited.”

Shake-outs are 25 minute runs that are at a slower pace than the runs they do at normal practices.

Although practices are a large part of getting ready for a meet, there is more that goes into it than the physical preparation. They also focus on having a healthier diet to perform their best at meets.

“In general I don’t want to eat super unhealthy foods [during the season],” Lu said.

While the team works hard during the season and adjusts as needed, there’s more to being a cross country runner for Coach Hatzikostantis.

“I feel that my job is to make sure the girls are having a positive experience, that they’re meeting other kids and getting that social-emotional connection,” Coach Hatzikostantis said. “I want them to feel like they have a place and a home and a family.”

The team’s next meet is on Oct. 13 at Proviso West.