Cross Country Gets No Respect

The Boys and Girls Cross Country teams at this years’ state championship.
From Left to Right:
Top Row: Will Cowley, Aiden Cass, Katarina Boskovic, Shea Hamel, Erin Vasu, Hannah Rooney, Ella Barton, Kitty Luong
Bottom Row: Jonah Barresi, Lily Tracy, Zach Elfman

Here we are in November, so many months after Tommy Li, arguably Longmeadow’s best ever runner, broke the school record in the mile with the time of 4:21, and yet the Track record board still hasn’t been updated. “When the best talent we have had in one of the most successful sports here at the school sets a record that will hopefully stand for many years, the school is slow with action,” said Edgar Gebhardt, who is a senior at Longmeadow High School along with being a cross country and track athlete for the past four years.

I’m sure if a lacrosse, football, soccer, or a more popular sports record were broken, great strides would be made to plaster it all over the school, and a flurry of announcements would be made honoring the record. By no means am I trying to discredit if such records are broken because when they are, it is an amazing accomplishment for the team, the school, and the athlete. However, when a track record has been standing for almost 40 years and it’s broken in one of Li’s last ever races, I think more respect and effort should be given to make sure that record is at least put on the board. 

Gebhardt agrees, along with adding the overall feeling that track and cross country as a whole deserve more respect, “I know that not only does Tommy’s milestone deserve to be treated with more respect, but so do the track and cross country teams. Success in any sport should be recognized, not just those that are deemed more “popular” or “important”.

Will Cowley, another senior at Longmeadow High School, finishes his last ever dual-meet XC race at Amherst high school with a first-place finish of a time of 17:17. The only thing on his mind is the hope that the rest of his teammates can finish well enough to win the division and Longmeadow’s first-ever banner.

Due to the hard-fought meet and pay off from constant hard work and training, both the girl’s and boy’s cross country teams were the only undefeated fall sports teams at Longmeadow, both winning their division in spectacular fashion. The only issue is the two most successful teams this fall got hardly any recognition.

Besides family members and close friends, hardly anyone would show up to meets to cheer on and help their school’s team. It’s important to note that yes, watching cross country races may not be the most eventful thing, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that you should feel obliged to cheer on your school’s team, and hey, don’t you want to watch a winning team?

Shea Hamel is a senior at Longmeadow High School, and just like Gebhardt, has been doing cross country and track for four years. Hamel believes “XC deserves more recognition because we have slowly been making our way to one of the best teams in WMASS for the last four years. This year we have actually won the division and every official meet we have had. This can’t be said by any other fall sport this year”.

The point of this piece is not to undermine the successes of other teams and their apparent recognition, because all teams deserve to be recognized for their successes. The point is to bring the lack of recognition to Longmeadow’s more impressive teams to light, and hope that both cross country and track, along with their athletes, get the respect and acknowledgment they deserve.

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