2020 Girls Cross Country Preview

They may be inexperienced, but don’t sleep on the girls cross country team.


Emma Smith

Kharis Perona, Reagan Beachy, Allie Lytle (Not Pictured) and Emma Smith are the only returners from last year’s team.

No one really knew what to make of the Girls Cross Country Team going into the 2020 season, and many wondered if there’d even be a season because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Then the restrictions due to COVID were lifted, and many girls on the team ran in the Gateway Cross Country Challenge on September 11 – a meet where runners ran individually, or “unattached”, from their team.

Although they may not have been racing as a team during the race by the meet standards, they definitely looked like one as all of the girls got out fast and finished strong. Annessa Shively, senior, finished in first place, Sabrina Holohan, freshman, taking third, Reagan Beachy, sophomore, claiming 10th place and Emma Smith finished in 25th.

“I think it was really great for all of us to get some experience and also really rewarding to finally get to run in a race after so many weeks of not knowing if we’d have a season or not,” said Shiveley.

Competing in her first full high school cross country season, Shively might have a different definition of “hard” than most newcomers to the sport in high school because most “rookies” don’t win their first meet by 20 seconds. 

The rest of the girls varsity team will also be new to the sport at a varsity level, as no girl on the team has more than one year of high school cross country training with the exception of Kharis Perona, Junior. With such a young team comes a lot of room for improvement, and as the new runners begin to get more practice under their belts, the team might begin to see the full extent of their great potential. 

Sabrina Holohan, freshman, has already seen the effects of her hard work in the early season paying off.

“I think that we will improve our times a lot [over the course of the season]. I already think we have started improving our endurance since the beginning of practice. We can run so much farther at practice without stopping than we did at the beginning of the year,” said Holohan. 

Although many of the girls are new to the sport and some of them don’t know each other that well, the team, including underclassmen like Holohan, has gelled exceptionally well in such a short amount of time. This chemistry contributes to a love for cross country that goes well beyond running. Whenever the girls practice together, the time spent not only promises to bring a good workout, but also a good social time.

“It is really fun being on a team with these girls because they are all so nice and encouraging to each other. I also like that cross country is a way that I can meet new girls that aren’t in my class and maybe who I wouldn’t have normally talked to at school.  But being in practice each day really helps us get to know each other more,” said Holohan. 

Although the girls are determined to find success on the cross country course, they are also able to enjoy other aspects of the sport – something that will last them long after their high school careers have ended. The young squad runs again on September 26, at Priory High School.