Mason cross country athletes overcome sickness and tough home course

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer

xc

Photo by Sheila Raghavendran

The cross country team may have had runny noses all week, but that didn’t stop them from sprinting towards the finish line at the Mason Invitational on Saturday.

The Mason Invitational, which brought in 3,600 runners and 160 teams from the tri-state area, was held at Corwin-Nixon park on Saturday morning. Races started at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the morning and into the afternoon. High school runners raced a 5k (3.1-mile) course and middle school runners raced a 2-mile course. There was even a kids’ “fun run”.

According to girls cross country coach Chip Dobson, many of the runners were experiencing sicknesses throughout the week, making the race difficult.

“I think that a lot of the girls were under the weather, so they were just feeling pretty ragged,” Dobson said. “It’s hard to race hard when you’re taking Nyquil the day before.”

Junior Maegan Murphy, who was the first Mason finisher in the girls’ varsity race, experienced this sickness first hand.

“I was very sick on Monday,” Murphy said.  “I thought I had a fever. Then, towards the middle of the week, I had a nasty cough. I thought I was over it today, but then the cough came back in about the third mile.”

According to junior Justin Koehler, there were those on the team with injuries as well.

“We have a lot of people on the mend, so we were just trying to take it easy this week,” Koehler said.

According to senior Delaney McDowell, there’s a psychological aspect to it as well.

“It can be mental, too,” McDowell said. “Once you think you’re sick and not going to do well, you might not.”

The team, however, tried to push through the uncontrollable factors and race well together at the meet, according to McDowell.

“I think we tried to have a positive attitude throughout this week and some days, you just don’t have your best race but I think overall, we worked together well as a team,” McDowell said.

The course itself is a very difficult one, according to Murphy, whether you feel sick or not.

“It’s a very challenging course,” Murphy said. “You go out in a big field — very hot — for the first (kilometer), then you go through the woods, come back, then you run through more woods. Finally, you run down in a creek, up the mulch hill, cross another creek, and go back into the big field.”

Despite the challenging aspects, the team is always excited for the Mason Invitational, according to McDowell.

“We always look forward to this meet because there are so many people and it’s such a fun atmosphere,” McDowell said. “It’s so fun to be here on your home course and seeing a lot of people come out.”

 

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