FHN Cross Country Sets Goals for the Season and Continues Pasta Night Tradition

By Mackenzie Pugh

Video: The FHN Cross Country team takes a trip to Pasta House the night before a meet to have team bonding. The tradition spun off of the idea of “carbo loading” which helps the runners perform better the next day. Cross Country runners Brayden Riggs and Nicole Wyman explain the team’s reasoning for keeping the tradition as well as their goals for the 2017 cross country season.

“It’s really fun and the people are really nice and sweet”, Nicole Wyman said.

The cross country team continues to build a tight-knit and dedicated atmosphere. In the venture of achieving this goal, they visit a restaurant or gather at a team member’s house for a pasta dinner the night before the majority of their important meets such as GACs, Districts, Sectionals, State and even meets large in size.
“We always go out to dinner,” Paige Hercules, sophomore and varsity cross country athlete, said. “It’s not before every meet but we do like to go to Pasta House or some type of dinner. Before State, Districts or Sectionals we would have a team dinner at someone’s house so we can carb up.”
Not only does the team see this feast as a way to prepare their bodies for a big run but also as an opportunity to build new bonds and strengthen old ones. It allows the athletes to relax and have some fun before the sometimes stressful meets.
“It just helps because we’re hanging out outside of running,” Hercules said. “We’re not all worried about the workout or anything, we are all just hanging out.”
For the athletes on the team, the time spent together during team bondings is just a fun and exciting way to either prepare for an event or get to know one’s teammates. For head coach Kimberly Martin, team bonding as a unit holds meaning on a much deeper level.
“If they’re doing things like team bondings, they’re going to be closer,” Martin, head varsity cross country coach, said. “When they get closer then while competing they’re more likely to be not just competing for themselves but for the team.”
The pasta dinner became a tradition last year that the 2017 cross country team has brought back into this year’s team culture. Having lost one female varsity senior and four male varsity seniors from last year to this year, the team has definitely had their fair share of struggles. Not only did the team lose the graduates’ presence on the athletic side, but they also played a major role in the team culture. Last year’s seniors are greatly missed by the returning athletes, but this year’s team has taken this tradition and made it their own to cater to the newcomers and the returning athletes.
“This year it’s been really different by having the friends off the bat, starting out knowing everyone and being the next role model for the incoming people,” Hercules said. “It’s been a lot different but I definitely think the team bondings help.”