Meet the senior captains of the men’s and women’s cross country teams – Sam Mullins, Mary Kate Carrigg, and Rebecca Reis – before the Eagles lace up for the GCL and GGCL league meets at Rapid Run Park in Cincinnati on Saturday, October 15.
How did you get started running competitively? Would you recommend it to others?
Rebecca: I started in high school because I wanted to play a sport but I didn’t have the coordination to play any other sports. I would definitely recommend cross country because I think it teaches you to push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of and that can be applied everywhere.
Mary Kate: I was looking for a fall sport freshman year and my sister suggested cross country, so I said, “What the heck,” and I’ve ran on varsity all four years. I’d recommend trying the sport. It is a lot of fun because you work individually and with a team. It is all about getting everyone to do well.
Sam: I decided I wanted to run track as a grade school student at St. Albert and my coach recommended I go out for CJ cross country. I definitely recommend running, it is a great way to get to know classmates before you start high school.
What is one of the most rewarding things and most challenging things about being an Eagles cross country runner?
R: I think the most rewarding thing is to watch your times drop because you can literally see yourself improving. The most challenging part is getting out there and making yourself run everyday no matter what.
MK: The most rewarding thing is being able to finish a race or a tough practice. The challenging part is giving your full effort all the time.
S: I think the most rewarding thing about cross country is being able to constantly make yourself better, but making yourself better is also the most challenging part.
Do you have any advice or is there a secret to long distance running?
R: Not really, just keep working at it. When all runners first start they struggle to run even short distances, but you get better as the season goes on.
MK: Always keep a positive mindset that you can do it. If you let negative thoughts in, you will start slowing down.
S: You really just have to be able to push yourself and accept pain. When you fight through the pain, good things happen.
Do you prefer to run with music? If so, what are the best three songs on your iPod for running?
R: As a team we don’t run with music so that we can communicate better with each other. Before a race though, I like to warm up to the music they play at meets, so I guess it changes every week!
MK: Not really.
S: No, not really. I sort of like to think when I run.
Do you have a favorite course and/or a favorite running spot in the Dayton-area?
R: My favorite course is Rapid Run, and I like to run the “Schantz Loop.”
MK: I like to run at Hills and Dales in Kettering. My favorite race is the Alliance Invitational at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center.
S: My favorite course is Rapid Run Park in Cincinnati. In Dayton, I like running the “Schantz Loop”