Starting off the school year on the right foot

Cross country offers benefits on and off the field for runners


Caroline Howley, a McLean cross country co-captain, competes at muddy race along with other local high schools.

Katie Romhilt , Reporter

Every fall, dozens of Highlanders suit up for their weekly 5k. With three successful competitions completed, the Cross Country team has an exciting season to look forward too.

Four days a week, the team has rigorous practices, where they engage in mile repeats, running hills and long distances, and training for the unknown terrain they’ll have to conquer that week.

With recent successes from the boys varsity relay team, and co-captain Caroline Howley, the season has been in full swing. Howley has competed at the past two state championships, and she is working hard to shatter the school record of the 18-minute 3-mile.

“This season I’d like to finish faster than what I did at states last year,” Howley said. “I go to Nike Cross South-East regionals, so I would also like to place in the top 21 there.”  

As the season progresses, the runners are finding their rhythm, getting into shape, and winning meets. The team is lucky to have a great head coach to motivate them to their end goal.

“Cross country is a sport in which athletes continue to improve a lot throughout the season and over the years. It is amazing to watch kids drop time and feel positive about the sport as the season continues, especially athletes who have very limited running experience,” cross country coach Megan Ney said. “As a sprinter, I am amazed when I see new runners conquer the long distances that our athletes take on each day.”

Ney, a former track runner, took over the position of head cross country coach three years ago, in addition to coaching track for McLean.

“My goal for the season is to have every athlete improve and feel positive about the sport,” Ney said. “It is a difficult sport and competing is taxing, so for athletes to improve their times and feel like it was worth their time is important to me.”