Wednesday, November 2, 2011

XC - 2011

Braxton ran cross country this fall. As he has mostly done road or track running, this was a whole new experience for him. Actually, it was a whole new experience for all of us. I've spent more time on golf courses in the last two months than in my entire life. Braxton came out as a freshman and ended up being the #5 guy on the team. I didn't realize the importance of that until I understood that team scores are tallied for the first five runners from your school who cross the finish line. That being said, it was both a curse and blessing to be el numero cinco.

After eight meets, it was time for district competition in Salmon. Randy and I drove up to watch Braxton run. It was a long drive, but the weather was perfect and the drive was gorgeous. Braxton had been feeling some pressure that week to beat Salmon's #5 across the finish line. He needed to come in ahead of that #5 guy in order for the whole team to qualify for state competition.

Coach Hill giving Braxton a pep talk before the race.

Team cheer at the starting line before the boys' race. Girls had just finished.

 Can I just mention here that I used to make fun of certain Idaho mascots when I was in high school? The Senators, the Russets, the Diggers. Then I ended up teaching those Senators and now my son is a Digger. Karma.

Braxton in his blue running tights. He thought it was cold.
 Our district is made up of four schools: Sugar, South Fremont, Teton, and Salmon. There was no way the team was going to beat Teton. I think Teton's entire male high school population runs XC. In the picture above, that's only part of their team. Teton won the 3A boys state title in 2010 and did it again in 2011.

Once the race stared, I was running across the course cheering for Braxton (and all the Digger kids) and completely forgot to take any photos of him running. In fact, I cheered so loud and so much that I lost my voice.

So instead of Braxton running in Salmon, you get a picture of Braxton running in Pocatello. Now back to districts....

Braxton ran his heart out. He started out the season running a 5K at 21:34. At districts, he set a new personal best of 18:51. It was his best race ever.

But it wasn't quite enough. He crossed that finish line just behind Salmon's #5 guy. Braxton knew his team wasn't going to state. He crossed the finish line and just kept walking. I caught up to him and he was as emotional as 9th grade boys get and my heart ached for him. He ran his very best that day. As his coach said, Braxton ran well; Salmon just happened to run great. Our team came in six points behind Salmon, which means it wasn't just Braxton. His one point wouldn't have made a difference.

Why am I posting "the agony of defeat" on my blog? Well, first because it's my blog and I can do what I want. Second, because I don't want Braxton to forget how hard he worked to achieve what he did. He may not have accomplished what he set out to accomplish, but he still did something great. And third, sometimes it's those moments of defeat that make us want to try harder, to do better. Braxton needs to remember that. And besides, if nothing else, now he loves to run.

Sugar High XC team after districts.

Jump on, coach! Notice the twins in the second row: Carlos and Luis. Last year, in 8th grade, a coach from another school got mad at our jr. high track coach for putting a kid in eight events. He didn't realize it was actually two different kids.

I posted this picture because is shows the wonderful camaraderie  on the XC team. The team would eat a carbo-load dinner together the before a race and they would "hang out" after races. Even though most of the parents came to the races, the kids would all mostly ride the bus home together. They cheered each other on and more than once, runners would finish the race and then run back down the course to find the last runner and bring him/her in. They are an amazing group of kids.

The girls team won districts and went on to take second at state. (The girl in the back, third from left, is Ta'Lee. McKay loves her. He even winked at her when he was on the stand for the primary program. ) Two boys qualified individually for state. One of them beat all of our district (including the Teton pack) across the finish at sate.

The way cool boys team. Braxton is in the black hat.
We are really proud of Braxton and his hard work this fall. I can't believe we have to wait ten whole months for another XC meet! What will I do between now and then? Oh, I know. Cheer Braxton on in wrestling and track. Cheer Tanner on in baseball. Attend a few dance recitals. And teach McKay how to read.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words - but in your case, you make the picture come alive. Thanks for the walk through Braxton's races.