Boys cross country players share their thoughts on the season

      With COVID restrictions finally lifted, sports at Buena Park High School are beginning practices and competing in games again.  This includes Cross-Country. Cross-country is a sport in which teams and individuals compete in a running competition where the lowest score wins.

The athletes talk about how the way they and their team get ready is by eating things with carbs to help them be fueled for the day.  Yessenia Chavez, a 17-year-old Junior in the varsity team, stated,  “I [would] prepare for an upcoming race by staying  hydrated, eating properly, and sleeping enough/getting enough rest. My team and I will gather and eat pasta the day before a race to get those carbs for the race.”  Miguel Cartagena, a 17-year-old Junior in the Junior Varsity (JV) team, said, “Usually, before a race everyone pitches in a bit to buy a pasta dinner for everybody to get more carbs for the race. And of course, I stay hydrated, sleep, and eat properly, like anyone should.” 

As with any competition, nerves and excitement both play a large part in preparations before the actual race. The Buena Park Cross Country team has competed in 4 races so far and will continue to compete through October. Nathaniel Guerrero, a 16-year-old junior on the JV team, has been in Cross Country since his sophomore year. Since then, he has gone on to compete in the Freeway League and various meets around Orange County. Guerrero said, “I sometimes overthink the outcome of a race, but I try my best not to let it get in the way of the race. After a race, I feel relieved. I’m mostly very happy depending on what time I got or how I did during the race.” Chavez also said, “I try not to overthink it too much as I tend to get nervous. I also get what people call ‘runners hype.’ It’s basically just a burst of energy. After a race I either feel content with how I finished or disappointed knowing I could’ve done better.” 

Cartagena shared a different perspective of a runner’s mindset. He said, “I definitely have many thoughts before a race. Most of it is me procrastinating with myself saying I don’t want to run the 3 miles but I also think about all the practice I went through and the fun I had running with the team–that gives me motivation.” 

The team has their practices every day during the 6th period. Although these practices require hard work and determination, Guerrero said he continues with the sport because of his love for it. Guerrero shared, “I enjoy running with my teammates/friends, they make the whole sport so much better. The conversations that we have before, during and after our workouts make [it] so much better. The payoff is far greater than what you put in it and it all feels worth it in the end.” 

Because the runners spend so much time together during practices and during invitational races, they form lasting relationships that go beyond being a team. Cartagena has been in the team since his freshman year. “I picture my team as my second family. I do spend most of my time with them so we’ve all been through tough times and happy times together, through practices, races, and even in our personal lives. I’m glad to be part of the family we’ve built,” Cartagena said.

In addition to the familial atmosphere of the team, players say they take pride in training along with their teammates.

 “I feel proud of my team as everyone does and tries their hardest for their spots in varsity and their times. It even amazes me how much they can push themselves to be the greatest,” Chavez said.