When it comes to sports here at Toccoa Falls College, we normally think of baseball, basketball, soccer, or volleyball (our football team hasn’t done that well recently, so they are often forgotten). Unfortunately, this leaves out a group of athletes that work just as hard, if not harder. The ironic thing is that you probably see them running around on campus during their practice time without realizing that they are training for their sport. Our cross country team may be the most unsung sports team at TFC.
For their training, cross country runners do exactly what you might expect: they run for an extended period of time. A common joke among them is that they their main exercise is what most other sports teams do for punishment. This hardcore exercise regime, combined with healthy eating habits, gets the team in shape to run several miles at a time in order to compete with other schools, something they always do well. On September 15th, our cross country men won first place in a three mile race, and our women won second place against three other competing schools. On September 21st, though both the men and women took last in points for their respective races, Ben Pigott took 4th place overall in the men’s race out of twenty-four competitors and Clessie Kendrick took 8th overall in the women’s out of twenty-nine competitors. Surely this team does not deserve to be the unsung athletes of our college.
I was able to talk to several members of the team about their cross country experiences. I asked one member of the team, Jodi Braselton, why she is a member of the cross country team. She responded: “There are several reasons. First, I enjoy running. Second, it keeps me healthy. Third, the team community is amazing. And fourth, you get to eat all you want…not really.” Pigott related the story of how he barely made 4th place in the last race. With a competitor gaining on him in the last quarter of a mile, both racers began to make loud sounds to get a little extra “oomph”, as Pigott called it. Pigott won out in the end, and was questioned later by curious onlookers about his strange noises that helped him to win 4th.
Many of my close friends (including two who are on staff at The Talon) run cross country, and if my testimony means anything, I can say that they are one of the best groups of people around. They have a strong bond, do well academically, and are always willing to go the extra mile for their friends and their school. If you would like to get more information about the TFC’s cross country team you can contact Jeremiah McDuffie, Dr. Dale Garside, or any of the team members. It’s about time that this hard-working team started to get the attention it deserves.