Photo by Izzy Marcelo
Orange Cross Country Boys and Girls pose together after racing in the state meet. Boys Cross Country placed eighteenth and Girls Cross Country places twentieth in the meet.
The track and cross-country teams are one of the biggest sports teams at Orange High School with runners on the boys and girls cross country teams and runners on the track team. Even with these large numbers, both teams have boasted much success, including placing 16th in OHSAA Championships for track.
Yet even with the large numbers and proven success, these two teams are one of the few sports that encourage any and all student athletes to join and don’t make deliberate cuts. Coach Adam Walters, who coaches the boys cross country team and is head track coach, said cuts aren’t made because when you make cuts you are denying an opportunity so huge to boys and girls to better themselves in many aspects. Perhaps, maybe other teams should take note and change their policy of cuts.
I agree with these teams’ policies of not making cuts. Not cutting runners could potentially help decrease child obesity throughout Olentangy schools. Think about it, with no cuts to the team it’s more encouraging for students to join without the risk of getting cut. Running has many benefits to the body. According to Runners World they claim that running makes you happier, it helps strengthen your muscles, and greatly reduces your risk of cancer.
Not only can the absence of making cuts be helpful for encouraging healthy lifestyles, but it can also be a great social experience. For kids who struggle making friends, this is a one-way ticket into a great social aspect on a team where athletes learn how to work with other people, makes friends and overall heave a healthy experience. According to Podium Runner, running boosts learning abilities and creativity along with decreasing anxiety and depression symptoms.
For people who have dedicated their life to this single sport, I can see how they might have a negative view. For those people, it may feel like it’s not fair to join a team when they put blood, sweat and tears into track. On the contrary, despite anyone being welcomed on the team if you are a top competitor, you can still expect to have a spot on the starting line. In addition, only the top runners compete during the post season, so those athletes are not losing out on any accolades or accomplishments when including as many people who want to participate initially.
From an outsider’s perspective, I perceive track as individually based sport. Yes, athletes run to represent the school as a whole, but the better they do individually, the more it helps the high school’s track and cross-country records. Another way to look at this scenario is from recruitment standpoint. A college is not going to recruit the team as a whole, they will look to snag those top players. This means it’s up to the student to do as best they can and not worry about the kids joining because their times won’t affect them.
The track and cross-country teams’ decision to not make cuts has benefited them in many ways, bringing new hidden talents to the table, and ultimately creating the most dominant team the high school has ever had! I recommend that other teams learn from the best and reconsider making cuts.