On the Watertown Middle School cross-country team, fast friends emerge

KIARA C., Watertown Splash staff

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    The Watertown Middle School cross-country team. A group of sixth-, seventh-, eighth-graders. The athletes compete in meets to see who runs the fastest.

    This sport is more than just running to be assigned first, second, or third. The cross-country team faced off against Wayland, on Sept. 24, 2015. The WMS runners  placed in the top six places.

    Most people ask, “Who likes running?”

    “I like cross-country because I just love running,” said Rita Hackett, a seventh-grader on the team.

    Another seventh-grader, Teagan Young, said, “I enjoy cross-country because it’s relaxing for me.”

   Joining cross-country. It’s a pretty big step. You join the team for a whole season and you can’t just quit. So eighth-grader Susie Howard joined.

    “I joined because my friend recommended it to me,” she said. “I also wanted to play a middle school sport.”

    Sean Donohue, an eighth-grader, said he joined because, “I really like running. Also, because my mom runs. My dad has a road race as well.”

    Coaching in any sport that’s hard enough. Picking the right coach is also difficult. The coach also has to want to coach middle school kids.

    Coach Larry Sullivan chose cross-country because, “It’s my favorite sport,” he said. “I started running in freshman year in high school. I stayed with cross-country throughout high school and college, and then after college.”

    But why would a runner like to coach?

    “I like teaching the sport and sharing the skills to help with the kids’ running,’’ he said. “It’s also a great time of year to be competing.”

    But what does he get out of staying with cross-country?

    “Originally, because I had success in high school. I got to go to big meets. I also made new friendships, some of them I’m still friends with,” he said.

    And maybe that will be what happens to the runners on the WMS team.

–Nov. 20, 2015–

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