Whether in the crisp, fresh morning or the cool evening, chasing down the sunset, students have been crowding the running trails here at Christendom this past month. These runners are part of a monumental group- they are members of Christendom College’s first ever Cross Country team.
After a few years of preparation, the cross country team was able to start their very first season this fall. The team is coached by Jake Gutierrez. Gutierrez is also the head coach of the men’s soccer team. Junior Xochitl Ortega leads the team as the captain. Ortega was a cross country star during her high school years in Roswell, New Mexico. Ortega is a strong leader for the team, both on and off the track. Ortega talked about the goals for the team this first and essential season, saying, “Our team hopes to build ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Cross Country is a very tough sport and not for everyone. It requires time, discipline, and commitment. You build not only your body but your character.”
After months of training, the fourteen Crusader athletes tied up their laces and prepared themselves for the first cross country race in the history of Christendom College at James Madison University on Sept 12. While the team did not do as well as hoped, they really came together at this monumental meet. Senior Cecilia Flagg commented on the meet, saying, “The first meet was great because it was a new challenge and something I think a decent amount of us had never done before. We all came together as a team at our first meet which was key because even though running is such an individual sport, we all need teammates to keep us motivated.”
This past Saturday, the Crusaders had their second meet at Shenandoah University. Ortega commented on the meet saying that even though the course was more difficult than their previous meet, the team pulled together and performed much better. She expects that this improvement will continue as the team prepares for their meet this upcoming Saturday, October 3, at George Mason University!