When the time of year rolls around for athletic teams to begin competing and demonstrating the hard work each individual has put into the preparation of the season, athletes feel excited for what a new season would entail.
Athletes may ponder on questions such as: what records (personal or college) could I break this season? What will the opposing teams’ competition look like this year? Even more than that, in a year like 2020 and now 2021, athletes may ask: how are competitions going to be held in a safe manner amongst a worldwide pandemic?
Even though a pandemic has been circulating around us, the Maryville College Cross-Country team has not let it stop them—even in a short, COVID-safe season. The team had the opportunity to compete in three races (with a normal season usually ranging from seven to eight races) including: the Knoxville Invitational, Maryville College Invitational, and the USA South West Division Championship.
Each member of the team has worked for countless hours to have the chance to compete and finally get to compete after such an unpredictable season.
When asked what one word would be used to describe the season, freshman Colton Gentry responded with “cold.” As the season was held only in the spring semester, the weather was quite uncertain.
The weather conditions were quite unforeseeable for the team as they entered races due to the fact that all races were held in the springrather than in the fall with warmer conditions.
When asked how COVID-19 has affected this season, sophomore Hannah Mattison mentioned the effect of weather conditions and the acclimation for the athletes.
“This year we competed from the start of the spring semester through February.,” Mattison said. “This required training over winter break as well as acclimating to different weather we normally haven’t have competed in.”
Although the weather conditions may not have always been ideal, this did not stop the team from reaching huge successes and milestones.
Junior Lilly Simms was named all-division at the conference championship. Simms also had the honor to place 2nd at the Maryville College Invitational and 5th at the USA South West Division Championship. As a whole, each team member ran with grit and determination for a successful Scots season.
As the 2020-2021 season has now ended for the cross-country team, the hard work is not ceasing as the team looks ahead for next season. When preparing and looking ahead, there are many expectations, excitements, and anticipations for what the next season could look like.
A new season means new goals, new aspirations, and new excitements.
When asked about excitement for future seasons, sophomore Hannah Mattison said, “I am excited to hopefully have a more normal season this fall.”
As COVID-19 changed the normality of the season, there is much excitement as to what future seasons could look like with the same safety precautions in place.
Gentry also expressed his excitement for the possibility to travel for more races in the fall season.
“I am most excited to travel more for races because that was really fun,” Gentry said.
Traveling with fellow teammates is a great way for the team to grow together outside of the normal practice or race atmosphere.
The Maryville College Cross Country team had major successes and celebrations despite the short season. The team exemplifies true team comradery.
As Gentry said, “Everything that happens in cross-country is team building.”