The HXC Mission
Welcome to the Haverford Cross Country Team. If you are new to the sport, or you’re simply curious about running, we would like to extend a special welcome to you.
Haverford Cross-Country is an interscholastic sport held at the varsity level in the fall. We train during the summer, then have an official Preseason during which we train together (and have fun) as a team in August. Then we compete from September into November. The 2018 Guide to Summer Training and Preseason can be found HERE.
This is not a running club. Athletes who want to improve and who are motivated are strongly encouraged to join. Lack of experience or natural talent is no reason not to join. A true commitment to the team and a goal of trying ones best in work outs and races is all that is required. You will find that Cross Country is a demanding sport both physically and mentally, but it is also deeply rewarding and uniquely empowering. The Haverford XC team is a close-knit group. We work hard together, we take care of each other, we have lots of fun together.
We compete in the Central League, also known as the CLC, and we aim to win the league. We also compete in larger Invitational races. At the end of the season the varsity competes in the PIAA District 1 Championships, running to qualify for the PIAA Pennsylvania State Cross Country Championships. We also aim to qualify for the state meet.
Our mission is multifaceted.
We aim to keep every athlete safe, first and foremost.
We aim to teach: you will learn about your body, you will learn anatomy, physiology, and nutrition. You will learn the rules, training methods, techniques, and strategies involved with our sport and you will learn the history of the sport. You will learn to be a good teammate, to collaborate and encourage others, to speak articulately and listen intently. You will learn to push yourself and your teammates. You will surprise yourself.
We aim to have fun. There is a socialization lesson in this. Because our sport is very demanding, some days might not seem immediately like ‘fun’. When we work, we work very hard. But there is deep satisfaction within the hard work of our sport and we find the right times to be silly, and laugh, and have loads of fun.
We run to win. Make no mistake: part of our goal as a team is to win championships, and winning championships takes every team member, not just the Varsity top seven. Everyone contributes, everyone helps in one way or another. We aim to be a championship team every year.
We must know and follow the rules, we must be responsible and knowledgeable. This website is an invaluable first step in that process. Visit the different pages. Read. Reflect. Join us!
What is Cross Country?
CROSS COUNTRY IS A TEAM SPORT
The places of each team’s top five finishers are added together for a team score. Each athlete’s point total is arrived at by simply counting their place. For example, if an athlete finishes in 8th place in a race he/she scores eight points for their team. The team with the lowest score wins the race. Although only five runners score for a given team, on the varsity level seven runners may compete. The sixth and seventh runners serve not only as insurance but may also add to the score of opposing teams by finishing ahead, or displacing, those teams’ scoring athletes.
Because five to seven athletes score in cross country, the team dynamic plays a crucial role in the success of the team. A team with two or three outstanding runners can be beaten by a team with five good runners. Each team is only as good as its weakest link. With this in mind it becomes imperative to foster the team dynamic in practice and in meets. Athletes must learn to work together and constantly encourage each other to be their best. Additionally, team members must realize that they represent not just themselves, but all of their teammates, their coaches, and Haverford High School.
CROSS COUNTRY IS ALSO AN INDIVIDUAL SPORT
Despite the importance of the team, cross country is often times individualized. Although others may encourage you in races and practices, ultimately it is only you who will do the work and succeed, or give up and fail. There are no time outs or substitutions in cross country; that is one of it’s beauties. Individually you will make tremendous leaps. There will, of course, be physical gains, but the more important benefits will be on the mental side. Cross country will teach you the value of hard work, patience, mental toughness. You will be a better person for having competed on the Haverford Cross Country Team.
Everyone can compete in cross country. You may be successful in cross country with any body type. Haile Gebrasellasie, arguably history’s finest distance runner, stands 5’6 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. Other Olympic medalists have been as tall as 6’7.
Nobody sits on the bench in cross country. If you are healthy and have attended practice regularly you will compete in meets. It makes no difference if you are the fastest athlete or the fiftieth fastest; you will compete.
CROSS COUNTRY IS A PURE SPORT
Cross country is not a game. Cross country does not need a ball. Cross country does not need a myriad of convoluted rules to become interesting. It is pure and simple. The first person across the finish line wins. He scores one point. There are no field goals or extra points. There are no infield fly rules. Run fast to win. That’s it.
CROSS COUNTRY IS THE GREATEST SPORT
We think so. But we’ve been involved in cross country—each of us—for many years. We can only hope that by the end of this year, or by the time you leave Haverford you will agree with us.
Practice times are 2:45 to 5:00. All athletes are expected to be at practice unless the coach is notified. Schedule your activities so that this time block is free. When returning after a missed practice a signed note is required stating the reason for the absence. Any unexcused absence can result in dismissal from the team. Leaving early for a job is considered to be an unexcused absence.
Running with any electronic head gear that impairs your hearing is not permitted. This is something that you should never use as a runner especially when running on sidewalks, roads, or in parks. The ability to hear what is around you, and more importantly behind you, is a safety issue of the utmost importance.
Training on roads: All runners should be running the “loop” as described by Coach Clinton or Coach Green. Runners should also be running with a least one teammate. Runners are to check in with a coach before they leave a workout.
Meets: All runners can race in team scrimmages and all Central League dual meets. In major meets (Invitations and Championships) all runners can compete with the exception of the Paul Short Invitation and the District 1 Championships.
Transportation: If a school district bus is provided you are to take it to and from a meet. If your parent wants to pick you up you must discuss this with your coach. If a parent wishes to drive another student home the coach must be informed at least one day in advance.
Uniforms: You will be issued a team uniform. Please keep it clean, don’t lose it, and make sure you have it for all of our meets. After your last meet all uniforms should be turned in before the team banquet to Coach Clinton, Coach Green, or Mrs. Patterson.
Paperwork: All school forms are to be handed in when preseason practice begins. These forms can be found HERE.
Summer Training Logs: Summer training information will be given out at the end of the school year for underclassmen. Feedback to the coaches will be via online training logs. If one returns in poor shape and performs poorly in the first scrimmage they will most likely be dropped from the team.
Team Letters: JV and Varsity letters will be presented at the team banquet.
JV Letter requirements: Attend all practices. Compete in 5 dual meets, including scrimmages, and 2 major meets (Invitations & Championships).
Varsity Letter requirements: (1) Miss no more that 2 days of preseason practice. (Preseason starts in mid- August. (2) Compete in 5 dual meets and 4 major meets. (3) The top 14 runners on boys and girls teams will receive varsity letters. As our top 14 will undoubtedly change through the season, it’s likely the number will increase slightly to accommodate those who are ‘on the bubble’.
A senior with at least three full seasons of Cross-Country will receive a varsity letter.
Behavior: We treat everyone with respect and courtesy. There are no exceptions. We compete very hard, in practice and especially at our meets. We run to win. But before and after the race, and at practice every day, we exhibit the utmost respect and sportsmanship. We encourage teammates. We communicate clearly. We run fast. We have fun.
Contribute! Have a good idea for a team activity? Have a solution to an ongoing team problem/issue? Let us know! We want and need your ideas. Find ways to contribute to HXC18. Take photos. Make a video. Brainstorm on ways to improve the website, our social media accounts. Recruit new team members. Make us laugh. Educate us. If you see a team member upset, make him or her feel better. Make the team better. It takes every team member to build a truly great program!
COACH’S CONTACT INFO
Coach Green’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Clinton’s email: email@example.com
Our team captains for 2018 are Nora Derbyshire, Victoria DiMatteo, Rachel Woodman, Brian Walheim, Brendan Campbell, and Aiden Tomov.
Eligibility forms and physical forms can be found HERE. These two forms are needed on the first day of pre-season practice. You must have these forms to train with the team
Team dues are $50, due the first day of pre-season.
The Captains will arrange a clothing order for the team in August.
HXC RUNNING ROUTES
THE WEIGHT ROOM
You can find a guide to lifting HERE.
We want a glycogen-rich, iron-rich diet. Beans/legumes are ideal; they are packed with iron and other nutrients, a true ‘power food’. Oatmeal, cereal (iron-enriched), lean meat, fish, and whole grains are all vital. Potatoes, spinach, broccoli and other vegetables are all great nutrient sources for runners. I can’t overemphasize the importance of vegetables and fruit. Pasta is a good carbohydrate source, but vegetables are better. Do your own research. Find the healthy foods that you love and eat them. We want plenty of glycogen stored in the body: potatoes, for example, are an excellent source. They’re inexpensive, baking them is easy, and you can season them in all kinds of yummy ways (a personal favorite when I was training hard). I also think it’s important to have treats. We are burning crazy amounts of calories, so, if you occasionally need a chocolate shake, then please, have a chocolate shake.
Keep sipping water. You can do your own research re: electrolyte replacement drinks. They can certainly help. But it is also great to simply drink a lot of water. We want your body well hydrated.
A word about race day: You should eat a meal four or so hours before the race. Yogurt, energy bars, and fruit are great race-day foods. We want foods that are easily digested so your body can use the energy ASAP. It is also important to not try ANY new food experiments on race day. Stick with food in your comfort zone (while trying to incorporate these foods as well). If you get hungry as the race approaches, a few bites from a banana or energy bar should do the trick.
While it is important for athletes to complete workouts, it is equally important that the athlete communicate during workouts and at meets regarding injuries and/or illness. Often coaches will notice problems and ask an athlete, but it is important for athletes to be forthright and honest in this area. Injured or sick athletes do themselves no favors by practicing or competing when injured/ill.
Little (and sometimes big) aches and pains are common in cross country and are often simply the result of a good workout. The most common symptoms are soreness in the shins, calves, and thighs. Because of stretching exercises and the natural jarring of running, tendons and joints will often become sore and irritated in the early season.
Often times – particularly for new athletes – the difference between an injury and soreness is difficult for athletes to ascertain. If, in the athlete’s mind, continuing to run with a particular soreness might result in that soreness being significantly worse the next day, it is likely an injury; if it will be no worse, it’s just soreness. Soreness in a very specific spot is more likely an injury while bilateral soreness (both knees or both Achilles tendons, for example) is just soreness.
Injuries do not necessarily mean that our athletes cannot train as we have a variety of alternative methods of training available. We also have a wide net of health care professionals in the area who work with our athletes. Communicate (!) with your coaches and with the school’s trainer about sore spots.
- Shoes: One of the great things about cross country is the lack of need for a great amount of equipment. The bare necessities are a pair of running shoes and a pair of shorts. A good pair of running shoes is essential. Any of our local running stores can help you find a shoe that will be good for cross country training. When buying shoes do not simply buy the most or least expensive shoe; decide what is best for the needs of the athlete. A very good shoe might cost a bit more, but it will most likely last longer and help with injury prevention. One pair of good shoes is good; two pair, alternated daily, are even better. Many of our runners also own racing flats for workouts and races where spikes are not preferred. Speak with your coaches about whether racing flats are appropriate. Most of our varsity runners race in spikes regularly. Go to one of our local running stores and try a few different cross country spikes.
- Apparel: Good runners wear running shorts. These “short shorts” are far more comfortable and efficient for running long distances than soccer or basketball shorts. Athletes who are serious about improving in this sport will quickly overcome their embarrassment and embrace running in these shorts. Many of our athletes wear longer shorts (basketball or soccer) over their running shorts during warm-up and warm-down. In addition to a few good pairs of running shorts, you will need cold weather gear (running pants, tights, sweatshirts, running jackets, good socks, hat and gloves), rain gear, and t-shirts.
- A sports bag or backpack, in which you keep all of your running-related stuff.
- A water bottle that you always have.
- A running watch – it doesn’t need to be fancy, but you need a running watch.
CROSS COUNTRY QUOTES
“The footing was really atrocious. I loved it. I really like Cross Country; you’re one with the mud.”
– Lynn Jennings
“The secret of cross country is to do everything we do on the track… and take it into the bush.”
– Mike Koskei, former national coach of Kenya
“When I was about 14 or 15, and running in a pretty muddy cross country race, one of my shoes stuck in the mud and came off. Boy, was I wild. To think that I had trained hard for this race and didn’t do up my shoelace tightly enough! I really got aggressive with myself, and I found myself starting to pass a lot of runners. As it turned out, I improved something like twenty places in that one race. But I never did get my shoe back.”
– Rob de Castella
“The start of a World Cross Country event is like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It’s a thrill if you keep up, but one slip and you’re nothing but hoof prints.”
– Ed Eyestone
THE HISTORY/RECORDS SECTION
In this section of this site you can find team records, individual records, and the history of the Haverford Cross Country program. Much of this was compiled by former coaches Jay Williams and Mike Ahlum.