Girls cross county runs toward successful end to the season


Photo Courtesy of Adriana Marques

WCHS girls XC runners Lauren Kuo, Jessica Bowen, Lauren Anderson, Laura Sneller and Bridget Kelly pose with Ms. Heckert after a race.

By Jordyn Green, Assistant Online Editor

WCHS girls cross country is not only running the show; they’re also running their division, going undefeated this season.

The team used a renewed focus and dedication to conquer the five-team division after not winning a division in three years.

“We stayed focused during workouts and pushed ourselves to improve throughout the season,” junior Lauren Kuo said, who placed third in the meet versus Paint Branch High School.

Girls cross country has very specific traditions before a meet, such as spaghetti dinners and spirit days where the team members dress up according to different themes for each meet. Some of the themes include tacky tourist, blackout and more.

One special tradition is dressing wacky but twinning with a teammate. This is usually a tradition when the team goes to NC for the Great American Cross Country Festival.

“We have spaghetti dinners the night before to hang out and make sure we are all hydrated and full of carbs for the race,” Kuo said. “It’s really great just to hang out with everyone before a big race.”

To members of the team, however, it is more than just the running that defines the season and makes the team successful; it’s about the sisterhood.

“[We] pump ourselves up before with pep talks and during the race in our heads,” senior and captain Kavya Bhattiprolu said. “Sometimes when we run and we pass another teammate we tap our hip as a signal for them to keep up with us which helps us keep going.”

The team bonded as a whole and formed friendships through the difficulties they endured and the improvements they had throughout the season.

“My favorite part is being with my friends all the time, and seeing how much I grow and improve throughout the whole season,” junior Jessica Bowen said, who placed first in the 3200 meter race at the Richard Montgomery meet.

The team practices everyday after school and on Saturdays further proving their dedication to the sport.

“We make sure to complete our runs together and stretch properly before and after,” Bhattiprolu said. “We also ran the regionals course a couple days beforehand to get a feel of it. Sometimes we run up to eight miles at practices.”

The team truly rallied together this season, and the results prove just that. While the team has struggled in the past with losing records, this year, the team switched into a different division. Combining this big change with an increase in team unity has led to a very successful season.

“We work together and push each other to do better for ourselves and for the whole team,” Bowen said.

Part of the success of the team can be attributed to the senior captains Hannah Bush, Bhattiprolu and Laura Sneller, who have all been on the team for four years.

“I felt proud to be a captain of the team and lead them to success,” Bhattiprolu said.

The seniors served as role models to the entire team, and kept the morale up the entire season.

“We all look up to the seniors for guidance and help,” Bowen said. “They’re really one of the key reasons why we have been so successful this season. They’re such great role models.”

The team also gained a confidence boost from sources aside from team members, including coaches.

“Our coaches also worked hard and encouraged us to be spirited, and helped us improve and continuously cheered for us in races,” Bhattiprolu said.

The team has defeated all of the four other schools in the division and is excited to start regionals.

“Regionals will be fun,” Kuo said. “I’m excited to see how our team competes against other teams in other divisions.”
The team is ready to compete, and after an undefeated season, WCHS girls cross country is ready to bring home a trophy for the first time since 2014.

“It was cool to get a trophy at the Montgomery County championship for winning our division, and I want to do it again, ” Bowen said.

WCHS girls cross country competed in the 4A West meet Nov. 1. The team holistically placed eighth place with high-placing runs such as junior Anjali Iyer placing a 22:10.54, earning her 22nd place. The team only fell six points short of qualifying for the state championship.