The Bearden cross country team is bouncing back from one of their best senior classes in school history.
That class included current Tennessee runner Preston Ruth.
“Preston and the other seniors left a legacy of hard work and dedication, which will be carried on by my teammates and I,” senior Ben Cruze said.
The 2019 team has been putting in miles with many practices over the summer. Most runners have their own routine they follow when they do not have an organized practice with the team.
“In June I just did base mileage (easy runs that aren’t about speed but just going a certain distance), and in July I transitioned into actual workouts that push limits and build endurance and speed,” Cruze said. “Summer training (especially base mileage) is critical to having a successful season.
“I like to think of being in shape like a pyramid, where the larger the base is, the higher you can build. By the end of the season, you peak at the very top of the pyramid, when you should be in your prime. But how high you build is largely dependent on how you build your base.”
In addition to Cruze, Brigham Wilson should be one of the other top runners for the boys this year. Elise Pickett and Mia Montgomery will be among the best for the girls.
Added Coach Ashley Powell: “The cross country team has been working hard and putting in the miles throughout the summer. We have a group of juniors and seniors that have much potential to help our team become successful this season. It is in their consistent effort at practice and in their leadership that we will continue to become a stronger team.”
Although the team has lost quality runners to graduation, this year’s team has more junior and senior leaders. There are new strengths for this year’s team that last year they did not have.
“This year, one of our team’s strengths is that we have a pack of guys who are pretty close to each other in speed,” Cruze said. “This will help our team score well in meets. It even creates a competitive atmosphere during practice that allows us to push each other.”
The cross country team had their first meet on Saturday at Victor Ashe Park. The girls placed third and the boys placed fourth. Their next meet is Saturday at 9 a.m. at Sequoyah Park.