PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY LAURIER BRANTFORD / INSTAGRAM
On Nov. 13th, 2021, the Laurier Brantford cross country (XC) team competed at the CCAA National Championships at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Alberta.
After gaining momentum from provincials, the Golden Hawks were able to leave an impressive mark with their final race of the season.
The women’s team finished 6th overall out of 14 teams and can be proud of the strong showing they produced at Nationals. Congrats to all female runners Faith Nieson, Kennedy Finch, Chiara Carinci, Kara Hughes, Adna Kadrispahic, and Jackson Rice on the men’s side, being the only male representative for the Golden Hawks at the National Championships.
After a year with no sports, Laurier Brantford can be extremely proud of what they achieved this season and excited for things to come in the future.
“First day of practice I feel like there was a lot going on because it was the first season back from the pandemic shutting everything down. But I can say from the first day we started it was on a high note, and it was only going to get better from there which was encouraging,” said Martin Mejia, assistant coach of Laurier Brantford XC team.
Restarting a program can always come with bumps along the road especially after no competitions have been held for a while. Expectations may be low and the energy from athletes may take some time to reach the proper standard.
As the Laurier Brantford Cross Country team has had strong seasons in the past, an expected level of hard work and a willingness to improve every practice was a standard already established within the program. With the season now concluded, coaches made an emphasis to constantly reassure every athlete of their ability to achieve what they set out to do and build up their confidence.
“Us as coaches had to remind our runners of what they are capable of and what they can unlock from themselves. A lot of the time it was crucial to remind them that they deserve to be competing at that level as they aren’t there to fill the numbers, but to be competitive amongst the top schools,” said Mejia.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY CORY CURRIE / INSTAGRAM
The coaching staff for a team is just as important as the athletes performing once competitions are ready to go. Coaches are responsible for training, understanding who their athletes are as people, and installing the appropriate qualities they can use to help them with not only sports, but their day-to-day lifestyle also.
By installing confidence as a point of emphasis, coaches can help develop a winning mentality which is important to gaining any type of success. Also, confidence helps develop one’s character and can motivate an athlete mentally and physically.
“The competitiveness was something I have never seen before. Way more exciting than high school. I have dreamed about competing at the highest level one day and I was able to do that at nationals this year” said Jackson Rice, a cross country runner at Laurier Brantford.
Having the opportunity to compete and show why you belong is one of the best things about sports. Especially in an individual sport like cross country, the chance to make it to the highest level can bring out the ideal competitive nature and help students understand what it means to be a varsity athlete.
The skills one has learned from this season can hopefully be carried into another successful year for Laurier Brantford next year. While a few senior runners will be graduating soon, the XC program remains in good hands for things to move forward smoothly.
“There were a lot of new skills I learned, but the most valuable skill I can take out of this year was to really take care of yourself and stay healthy,” said Rice.
Taking the time to care of yourself with proper treatment and dieting will always be essential for success no matter if you are an athlete or not. This skill can be transferable to anyone, and it is encouraged heavily for all Laurier students.
Congrats once again to Laurier XC Cross Country Team for representing Laurier Brantford and making the Golden Hawks proud.