XC crosses the finish line


Mercy’s Cross Country team runs alongside other district girl teams in the Catholic League Championships, bringing home several individual awards. Photo used with permission from: Jennifer Dickie

Amidst the numbing air and crowded race course, senior Alexis Dickie only focuses on the finish line that lies ahead. While cross country meets such as this are typical for Dickie, once her race ends during this meet, so will her career with the Mercy Cross Country team. Sprinting across the finish, a smile appears on Dickie’s face as her teammates gather around her.

The Mercy Cross Country team experienced many challenges this past season, including extreme alterations in weather and a few injuries. However, the team endured their setbacks and came out with several successes under their belt.

“The season was pretty good for the team,” said Dickie, captain of the team. “Cross country can be pretty competitive, but a lot of girls really worked hard and pushed through. We had a lot of injuries, but that didn’t really stop the girls from doing their best.”

Cross country operates on a system that ranks individual success based on meet times, thus the lower score, the better. Participating in six state invitationals, nine regional meets, and two scrimmages, the team placed highly in almost all events, both individually and as a collective group.

“Being a small team, sometimes we don’t always place as we want,” said junior Gabrielle Pluszcynski. “But as much as this sport is a team sport, it is also an individual sport, since each race is based on your personal performance. The team had lots of personal records, and lots of low placements in races.”

A new addition to the team also enhanced this season’s success, as Mercy English teacher Mrs. Angela Schultheis-Harris assisted in coaching. A former cross country runner herself, Mrs. Schultheis guided the girls in their training and meets, whipping them into shape.

“The team has loved having her a part of our cross country family, “ said Pluszcynski. “She has brought some really positive aspects to the team, always providing us with tips and techniques to help us both in our races and in practice.”

While the team has enjoyed many successes, the camaraderie instilled amongst the girls stood out over their victories. From long bus rides to early morning practices, the cross country team formed an unbreakable bond that created lifelong friends.

“I’m going to miss everything about this season,” said Pluszcynski. “There is something super special about getting to do what you love with your best friends, and getting to do it in such pretty places!”