The chemistry of running together


Connie Wu (11)

Six runners from the girls cross country celebrate in the mud after running at regionals. Runners from left to right: Hannah Hutto (12), Ashley Kisor (12), Paige Miracle (12), Amanda Cooper (11), Colleen Lynch (11), and Emily Widman (12)

Cori Bohan (Junior), Sports Editor

   Some people listen to music, others enjoy the silence, and some only hear the sound of their breath.  Whatever it may look like, one thing is certain, you are alone; alone running cross country.  While cross country is widely considered to be an individual sport, this could not be more than a misinterpretation.       

   Take for example the girl’s cross country team at Westerville North, they are a prime example of just how much togetherness affects their sport.  This “togetherness” is called “team chemistry” and it can be seen as a beneficial factor in almost every sport, and cross country is no exception. 

   Emily Bartholomew (12), a runner on the Westerville North High School (WNHS) cross country team says she has been running since seventh grade. Bartholomew says that she found her love for running in seventh grade and has continued to love it thanks to her teammates and great coaches. 

   “All the cross country coaches I’ve had have been really good that I’ve just stuck it out and the members of the team have always been really good,” Bartholomew said. 

   Bartholomew credits her love for running to the team chemistry. 

   “Especially this year, (the team chemistry) has been really good. There were some rough patches at the beginning getting the team chemistry down but now I feel like every girl is super close to one another and we are all like a family. We can all go to each other with our problems and help one another out. It’s just a really good environment,” Bartholomew said.

   Karlee Michels, a former cross country runner herself and now assistant coach of the girl’s cross country team says that team chemistry is key to individual success both on and off the course.

   “Something that I mention to them a lot is called Pack Time, sometimes you can hear it called Spread, and it’s basically the time that passes between the first person that finishes and the fifth. Even though a varsity team is seven people deep, the fifth person is the last point-getter. Having cohesion in the team and being so close and practicing together will get you more ‘pack runs’ is what we call it,” Michels said. Michels explains that Pack Runs are runs in which all people from one time file across the finish line close together in time, trying to merit the maximum amount of points.

   Michel says she, as a coach, holds responsibility when it comes to amplifying the team chemistry as well as keeping the girls close when they are not lacing up their shoes and running. 

   “I’m a big fan of women supporting women especially in sports and especially in school sports where it is very male-dominated with basketball and football being the main sports, and cross country is not a very viewed sport,” Michel said. “Every year I, and the other coach, Coach Sarah, host a girl talk. We get all the girls in the room and just talk about life and you know anything that pertains to being a woman in sports.” 

   Bartholomew says that the team has made her senior year incredible. 

   “It’s definitely the highlight of my year, and we’ve all become really good friends and it’s just a great time.”

   While the team chemistry among each team may vary, the team chemistry of the girl’s cross country team at Westerville North is incredibly beneficial to the success of the team.