Race to the Finish: Rocky XC 2021

Boys’ varsity cross country places first, and girls follow in second at Nike cross country regionals

Cameron Bush, Editor

On Nov. 12 the boys’ varsity cross country club won first place, and the girls came in a close second at a Nike sponsored race held at Eagle Island State Park known as NXR. With this being the outcome, many are left asking, “What played key roles in their success?”  

“For most of the season we weren’t expecting to win NXR, but as it came closer, we realized we had a good chance to do it. Nike made the event big and exciting this year, but it’s always just super special to win as a team,” said Landon Heemeyer, a sophomore at RMHS who ran at NXR. He added, “We have good coaches. Not only do they make great training plans for us, but they genuinely care for us and encourage us to bond as a team.” 

When asked what their coaches ask of them Heemeyer said, “The coaches are always teaching us the true meaning of being gritty, and what’s cool is that at NXR, your team has to use a different name than your high school, and ours is Grit XC.” 

Another student interviewed was Brighton Haywood, a sophomore that goes to RMHS, and who was able to be at this race as well. Heywood said, “It was a great experience because our girls’ team had never been this good before. We have never even been invited into the race and the first time ever being in it, we got second. It was just such a great feeling to be able to do something that great.” She  

Haywood also said, “It was kind of scary because there were so many good teams, and we weren’t even ranked to get second. I think we were ranked fourth and the scores were all super close. So going into it, we just wanted to run our best and see if we could take on all the other teams.”  

Haywood lastly said, “Our coaches are what really helped us to do so [well]. They wanted us to focus most on our relationships with each other so that when we ran, we weren’t running alone. We were able to run for each other.”  

Through their grit and coaching, the boys’ Grit XC club team was invited to run at NXR Alabama, taking 20th place overall. Through great coaching, mental, and physical strength there looks to be ‘Gritty’ track team in the spring season, ready to “slam the door” on any team.