Wednesday, December 14, 2011

XC Season Begins!

 The Spartan XC season opened with the TCPS practice meet in Tupelo.  It was a HOT, DUSTY day for a cross country meet, and the races began mid afternoon!  For those who are not familiar with Mississippi in August, racing in the mid-afternoon is brutal!  The Spartan runners did a great job, and showed up competitive.  There were several 2011 season opening surprises, and two of them involved Duleys.  Sarah and Hannah showed up and competed for the JV team!  Also, Andrew Snyder, Clay Johnson, Nathan Baggett, and Kendra Sanders were a few others we all took note of.                          




Our first race of the 2011BMC season was the Memphis Twilight on September 3. This meet has many races beginning early in the evening, and the college races finish up the evening... around 9:00pm!  The start was so crowded, it was difficult for both teams to get out and establish position. However, there were constant opportunities for passing and moving up throughout the race.  Freshman Latifa Swims from JZ George High School finished first for the Toppers. She had a great first college race! The second BMC finisher in the women's race was also a freshman- Kelsea Hendrix from Alcorn Central High School.
In the men's race, junior Austin Epting finished first for the Toppers, running an incredible race. RIGHT behind him was senior Nathan Young, who showed great improvement from last year. The BMC freshmen men also stepped up and helped out the team. Riley Bennet and Brian McDonnieal were the first freshmen Toppers across the finish line, followed by Jose Valle.

After arriving back to campus past midnight, several team members grabbed a few short hours of sleep (and some didn't sleep at all)! The next morning... or in the middle of the night, depending on your viewpoint... 5 runners had volunteered to help work the Tupelo Marathon. You see, runners will do crazy things for a good t-shirt!  The race start was at 5:00AM!
Hannah and Sarah spent the night with friends and met me at the race.  They worked the water stop at mile 3 with the BMC runners and then came back to the finish area to pass out medals and set up refreshments while I ran in the 14.2 mile race.  It was a cool morning and a fun race.  Esther Sanders and I ran together and visited with each other and other random runners passing by.  Jimmy took off and left us (quite by accident- the race started in the pitch dark), so our training group was incomplete!

When I finished the 14.2 distance, I received my cool medal that is a 1/2 of a skull and cross bones... The race director argues, "If you don't run the full distance, you don't get the full medal!" After getting my legs back under me, we all went to the 23 mile marker to man the water station for the full marathon runners. 
 By the end, everyone was a little delirious... and hungry! This resulted in runners snacking on GU, water fights, and lots of laughter.

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