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Last Thursday the boys had their final cross country meet, which was Sectionals at Blue Earth. Only one USC runner, a member of the Girl’s team, will be advancing to State. All our runners did well, but the Waseca and Fairmont teams are pretty tough competition.

Brett and Adam did well this year, both showing great improvement in their running times and meet experience. Running, like most sports, is exhausting both mentally and physically. You can see on both of them that while physically they are in good shape, mentally they’re ready for a break.

Saturday night the boy’s team was over at our house for an end of the season party. What continually impresses me about the cross country team is how well all the age groups interact. I participated in sports in high school and I’ve seen how rivalry can develop between grades but in the case of our team, everyone, not matter what grade, seems to genuinely support each other.

So we move on to another season. Brett will be doing some winter running to stay in shape for spring track. Adam will be playing basketball. In a couple of weeks I’ll be coaching Beth’s basketball team. The fields are turning black and the weather is cooling off. Snow can’t be far behind. The end of one season leads to the start of another.

That was the comment Dale made after Adam rounded the corner, passed the number one runner and headed towards the finish line of his Jr. High Cross Country race. He could see the determination and desire that Adam had to win this race. Standing closer to the finish line, I saw it too; Adam wasn’t going to let this one get away from him.

Cross Country season is underway and it’s been fun to cheer on the runners, no matter what their age or which race they are running. I’ve enjoyed watching the expressions on the faces of the runners, especially as they near the finish line. Last week in Montgomery, the kids had to go up a hill and then run about 60 yards to the finish line. I watched many of the runners’ faces as they went up that hill. A number of kids looked strong and determined. A few looked uncertain and there were some that looked tired. Our team has been doing more training on hills and when I watched them, I thought they looked confident that this hill was something they could run.

Dale and I both noticed how one of our 8th grade girls is running with a more confident look on her face. Last year, she ran like she wasn’t certain she could make it. But this year, even running at varsity level and a longer distance, she has the look of “I can do this”. It’s great to watch kids progress not just physically, but mentally.

Communication is both the words we say and our facial and body expressions. Running is a tough sport and when you’re using your arms and legs that leaves mainly your face to communicate how you’re feeling.  I love seeing that look in the eyes of a runner who’s determined and confident. No matter how they place, I know they’re giving it their best.