Running for joy: Cross Country runners do what they love


Photo by Clare Jones

Seniors Katie Kim and Mackenzie Sullivan head to practice while carrying their personal running equipment and masks.

This year,  the cross country team practiced nonstop to remain in good condition for their competition season. Despite there being a global change, the team has been able to continue to run without being significantly impacted.  

“We’re taking all the necessary safety precautions, so I am not worried about getting sick,” said Grace Martin ‘21. Grace has been on the cross country team since her freshman year. “It’s been nice to return to [some] normalcy again. Also, it is great to get out of the house and see all my teammates.” 

The team has practice six days a week. The team also does strength training practices to improve their muscle and flexibility. 

“It has definitely changed how we train because we are trying to keep the girls as far away from each other as possible,” said Coach and English teacher Mrs. Angela Harris-Schultheis. 

Cross Country is considered by the Michigan High School Sports Association to be a low contact sport. Although it is low risk, to ensure the team is remaining socially distant at all times, especially during strength training, the team has decided to arrange small running groups and implement staggered start times.

Also, the team has implemented new wellness checks that track how each team member is feeling to make sure that everyone remains well. 

“We submit a form about how we are feeling every day before we practice, we wear masks when we are around each other, we do not share any items and get temperatures checked regularly,” said Martin. 

As of now, it is still unclear as to how the competition will be run in the near future. It is noted that the number of athletes allowed to compete is very limited. 

“Although we have not had any meets yet this year, there have been a hundred people or more in invitational [meets] whereas this year the [maximum] number of people we can have in a race is seventy people,” said leading team member Katie Kim ‘21. 

The team is coached by Mike Montijo and English teacher Ms. Angela Harris-Schultheis. Despite the differences in their season, they received unexpected but exciting news. 

“[This] has forced Mercy to create a [cross country] course on campus for the girls so we can have somewhere to run, so we are not competing with the public school for courses,” said Coach Schultheis. 

Although these circumstances are unpredictable and unprecedented, Kim remains hopeful that the cross country team will persist to have many personal records. 

“I hope for this year’s season we are going to keep improving individually and as a team despite the unfortunate circumstances. I want all of us to be able to reach our goals and better ourselves,” said Kim. 

“I do not know what the future holds, but as far as the athletes, they look phenomenal this year,” said Schultheis. “They are stronger and faster than they have been in the past couple of years now, and Coach Mike and I are very excited and happy with what we see. It is going to be a good season.”