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The Cross Country Team pushes through in their latest meet

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Cross country is a demanding sport. Runners must run three miles in the baking sun without water. The course itself is filled with twists and turns. Dust from the track keeps runners’ throats dry. On top of that, several runners face added difficulties like an injured knee or a cold.

Yet despite all the obstacles, the Caimans showed their intense endurance in the Coastal Conference Finals on Nov. 11, with the girls placing first in their league and the boys third.

For some athletes, the race was especially punishing. Senior Coral James, a member of the Girls Varsity Team, spent the week before the meet fighting a cold but pushed through anyway and completed the race. “I feel exhausted,” James said, as she caught her breath after the run. “It’s very hard to race after being sick for a week in this hot weather, so I am exhausted, but I’m also really excited that it’s over and that we won.”

And win she did: James ended up finishing the race in seventh place overall—even setting a personal season record—and helping push her team to first place in the Pacific League.

As a senior, James has been running cross country for three years, and despite its toll, she truly enjoys the sport. “I do this because I love it, even though it’s hard and absolutely exhausting all the time,” she said. “It’s so rewarding because it makes you stronger as a person.”

For sophomore David Culver, this was his last race of the season. After sustaining a knee injury during a race two weeks before, Culver decided to run in the championship despite the risk. “When you’re on a team, you just want to keep going,” he said. “[You have] a determination … to at least finish the season.”

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Sophomore David Culver struggles across the finish line. Photo taken by Rachel Howard.

Culver started the race strong, but, before long, his injury began to flare up. “It was kind of a fight between my body telling me to stop, and me telling it to keep going.”

Culver pushed through the pain and was able to finish 37th but had to cut his season short due to his injury. “[Having to quit is] sort of painful, you could call it. But next year, hopefully if my knee heals up over the summer, I’d be able to get back on [the team].”

As for the rest of the runners, their final race, the San Diego CIF XC Championship, takes place on Saturday, Nov. 19, where they will compete against the top teams of the region for a shot at state finals.

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