The Cross Country team readies for competition

ZJ Hoffmann, Photo Editor

The Burroughs Cross Country team is used to taking on challenges, but this season has had more than its share. Now, the team members’ resilience, motivation, and dedication are paying off as they prepare for a Feb. 24 meet.

Getting to this point has not been easy. Near the end of last year, some runners tested positive with COVID, which put a temporary halt to the team’s usual preparations.

“We were able to make sure that it didn’t spread intentionally by shutting down for a couple of weeks,” said Head Coach Anthony Barnes. “It was hard to deal with losing your conditioning and training, but the team handled the situation responsibly.”

After the shutdown, Barnes began to do an active screening at the beginning of each practice. Active screening includes asking questions about runners’ health and checking athletes’ temperatures. The athletes are responsible for self-monitoring and if they have any COVID symptoms or answer “yes” to any of the COVID questions, they are to notify the coach and stay home.

“The team, in general, has been seriously hurt by all of it,” said Barnes. “We currently have less than half of the runners since the beginning of COVID. Many runners have decided not to run due to COVID concerns and others were tired of waiting and got discouraged.”  Currently, only thirteen boys and seven girls are on the team.

“A challenge I faced was staying motivated,” said sophomore Yaseen Sardar. “The season keeps getting pushed back and I’ve had to train on my own very often.”

For the runners who remain, the competitive spirit is still evident.

“My main goal is to have a season this year,” said junior Katherine Martinez. “If we do end up having one, then my goal is to beat my PR [personal record] before the end of last year. I’ve been injured but at the same time I am ready. It feels like we’ve been practicing forever and I just want our first meet to come, even if I don’t do so well.”

“I am ready to compete,” said Sardar, in agreement. “I haven’t gotten a break from training in a long time.”

If the Feb. 24 meet is unable to take place,  the team will still continue to practice and conduct Burroughs intra-squad meets among the team members.

Coach Barnes thanked the athletes’ families, community, and the school for their support in allowing them to practice and compete as a team.

“Even if we don’t get to compete, the purpose is to stay healthy, help academics, and provide community support,” said Barnes.