Preseason Glimpse: Cross Country Runs the Race Set before Them

By Audrey Hagens

It is evident that Joe Dan Laster, the cross country coach, cares for both his team and all of its members. He is so proud of how well the team did last year and during camp over the summer, as well as how well they get along and accept one another. This pride is also evident in each player, especially senior Thomas Lyne.

Lyne has been running for seven years, ever since the seventh grade when Sye Head asked Lyne to join him for a one-mile run.  “We ran four miles, and I didn’t realize it until it was over.” Ever since, Lyne has loved running and continues improving his time while setting a lofty example to follow.  Lyne’s best run was last year at state, running a 5K in 17:14.  When asked about his goals this year, Lyne stated, “I want to break the school record: 16:03,” which was set by the young man who inspired Lyne to run, Sye Head.

Their team’s numbers have almost doubled since last year, gaining two new members recently. Laster explained that all the credit went to the runners who had been returning to their schools and convincing classmates and friends to join the team. Laster is happy to see so many new faces, but hopes that a few more students from LCHS will join.  Although running is difficult and trying, the team embrace the challenge and are edified by it, and not only physically.

Indeed, running is punishment in most other sports, but the cross country team relishes the fiery spirit and perseverance that builds their characters as well as bonds of friendship. Lyne referenced Isaiah 40:31 when asked about why loves running, stating that “they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” a verse that often runs through his head when the long distances begin to take their toll.

Despite hope for the upcoming year, the team has been dealt a bad hand: this is the last year that the team will run on their course.  The land is allotted to the new Trade School to be completed in July of 2017. It is especially sad for Lyne, whose first season was when the course was built, and whose last season will witness the cross country team’s final run on their beloved course.

Laster is optimistic about the next few weeks, and we can show our support for this inspiring group of runners by cheering them on toward the finish line at the Warren East Raider Run on August 27.

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