Looking back on the 2020 Cross Country Season


Photo utilized from Crimson and Blue Yearbook

With 2020 a recent memory, you might have missed some well-needed good news from the ALHS cross country teams. The Lynx have the opportunity to run in districts every year, and possibly the chance to qualify for state. Although this year may have looked different from some of the runners, this did not stop them from putting in their best effort and pushing themselves to their limits. 

Cross Country Districts were held on Oct. 21, however, it looked a bit different. The team had to train more extensively and use the training from their season to put in their all. Paige Bracker, an ALHS Varsity girls cross country runner said that their training had become more intense around districts.

“Practice became a little more intense and strictly varsity since jv doesn’t run at districts. The coaches believed in us and told us all to let all of our previous training help us.” Bracker said.

Coach Traci Stoop said she changed  the girls’ practice. In order to perform well in districts, varsity girls must work on things like speed and distance, by modifying practice, they could do this. 

“Around districts we like to amp up our practices. We focus a lot on pushing the speed and distance,” Stoop said. “We like to focus our efforts on running for each other. And running the best we can for the team. We have to take advantage of the weather and increase our stamina during the week before districts.”

Training for districts became more intense for the cross country runners. More was expected of them and they had to overcome obstacles in order to improve themselves. The team had to grow together as a whole and had to push each other in order to make these improvements. 

“It went pretty well. We had a lot of people going to the meet, some sophomores who pushed themselves to be good,” Jude Ryan said. “Honestly the whole team is good since we all have push each other.”

Covid was also another challenge that the teams faced. Girls cross country had to deal with covid at the beginning of their season, but they overcame that together and still built a bond in order to be able to function as a team. 

“This season was obviously much different than other ones due to Covid. Our team overcame a lot this season. I joined cross country a little late, but at the beginning of the season the majority of the varsity team had to be in quarantine so that hurt our team,” Bracker said. “But our team overall has done very well and learned how to push through many obstacles.”

At the Cross Country districts, covid restrictions must be followed by everyone that attends. Stoop said districts looked different from normal and covid regulations were followed.

“We are required to wear masks before and after the race,” Stoop said. “Otherwise, fans need to socially distance and wear masks but everything else is business as usual.”

Stoop has to decide who will run in districts, and she does this a certain way. The girls who ran were Paige Bracker, Emma Lee, Berenice Monge, Jazmin Martinez, Jennifer Rangel, Alessha Mascarens, and Jacee Tindall.

“The top seven fastest times in conference run districts,” Stoop said “It can change at any time depending on injury, work ethic, grades and sickness.”

Stoop explained how districts work for the runners and who will move on to state. 

“The districts have eight teams from different parts of Iowa. Top three teams of districts will go forward to state, along with the top 15 girl finishers.” 

In order to perform well, the boys and girls cross country had to perform their best in the district meet, doing this by amplifying their practice in order to grow personally and as a whole group. Stoop said she has enjoyed watching this team’s improvement, and that she is thankful for every single one of them. 

“Coach Lee and myself have enjoyed watching this team grow. They are young, resilient and have overcome so many struggles with quarantining,” Stoop said. “Overall, they have been tremendous to work with and I am so thankful for each and every one of them.”