Cross Country

The cross country team at the Woodridge Cross Country Classic on Thursday, Sept. 15..

Jose Casillas

The cross country team at the Woodridge Cross Country Classic on Thursday, Sept. 15..

Stephanie Reynoso, Staff Writer

Cross country is a sport where individuals and teams compete and run on outside courses over dirt or grass. The runners are judged on individual times and teams are judged by points. Cross country, a fall sport, has a lot of benefits for yourself as a person, and as a student athlete.

Jose Casillas, who is the coach for cross country, was also the swim coach. Casillas lives a personal, active life, and just likes to be outside and active. Not only is he a cross country coach but is also a middle school science teacher.

“Everyone has an opportunity to be good at running; it just really matters what type of mentality you have going into it and just having personal growth within yourself.” 

This quote shows that if you join a sport with the right mindset, even if you start off badly, you will continue to improve yourself. 

“Cross country or even running drains me physically and mentally because running is a very physical sport, especially when you do it consistently and mentally it’s very hard. Most of the time I run alone, so it’s really hard to find motivation,” John Gabuya, 11th grade, said. 

There are always hardships in sports and losing motivation is a common thing. It’s important to take breaks every once in a while so you can give yourself a rest and time to think about yourself. 

“Before I became a teacher I was a lifeguard, a swim director, and worked at a pool for about 10 years,” Casillas said.

“When this opportunity came to me about being a coach I thought ‘oh cool’ because I like running and hiking and just being active overall.” 

Cross country or just running overall can be mentally and physically draining even for a coach such as Mr. Casillas and running also has a lot to do with the mental aspect you have on running or just cross country overall.

John Gabuya, who is a junior, dedicates his time to cross country. He not only dedicates his time for cross country, but also towards academics.

“I never really wanted to do cross country when I joined. I only really joined because I wanted to lose weight and as time went by I saw myself really enjoying it and taking it seriously,” Gabuya said.

He never expected to fall in love with the sport and love it so much. 

“I feel like I take cross country way too seriously, personally I have sacrificed even moments with family and friends, just to train. I even remember on my birthday this year instead of spending time with my family I just went on a run in the morning and on that day I ran 5 miles,” Gabuya said.

Even with any sport, sometimes the mentality and mindset can get to your head. Or it can even cause you to quit or give up because of how much you’re in your head or you probably just don’t have motivation.

“I do really see cross country as a long-term thing, because I don’t see myself doing something else other than running, because I’m very dedicated and I’ve done other sports in the past but cross country just really stuck with me,” Gabuya said.

Micheal Salas is a senior, and this is his second year into cross country. Salas has played other sports such as baseball, and has been dedicated to cross country as well as he is to his other sports and commitments.

“I like that cross country is a challenge and it motivates you and pushes you to be a better person and a better runner.”

Not just with cross country but with other sports it can help you to be better because  it consists of a lot of conditioning and exercising and running, so cross country can help you lose weight or just stay in shape.

“My friends really got me into running and I said why not because I was always interested in this sport, so in 11th grade I just took the opportunity.”

That is how a lot of students get into cross country, by seeing their friends in it.

“Freshman year I kind of had a negative input on cross country, because I was just doing baseball and I was like ‘why would I want to waste my time on cross country’ but now I completely changed my opinion because I think it’s really useful for any athlete.”

Emmanuel Manzo, who is a senior as well, is new to cross country. He found inspiration in doing cross country, not just for himself but his friends also found interest as well. Manzo is looking forward to seeing what cross country is about, and being able to get used to the way the sport is.

“Most of my friends did cross country and cross country is a very good sport to get in shape and even helps you get ready for other sports.”

He adds that he wants to play soccer as he had done for his whole life and cross country will help with that.

“I was forced by friends to do running since they were doing it, and I was open to it, so I just went into it with a free, open mind. The only thing I really thought about was running in the heat, since the summer just came to an end and I had a practice in the hot weather and it was pretty horrible, because I got tired really fast and my feet were just burning and since this was just my first year doing cross country, I’m just starting to get into it.”

Even though he is new to the sport, he is slowly starting to feel comfortable and have an open mind and positive attitude about it all. 

Cross country has brought an impact for some students and has helped and affected them not just mentally, but also physically. It has helped them better themselves as a student athlete and as a person in general. If you would like to join cross country, you can see Mr. Casillas for more information.