Cross Country Invited to State After Coming Out on Top at PPAC

By Mallory Sale, Reporter

Photo Courtesy of Morgan Scarsbrook (11)

This past week, both boys and girls cross country did a great job at their invitational and regional meets, allowing them to be invited to the 2020 varsity state championships. ‘Sko bears!

After speaking with Cross Country coach and Palmer Ridge teacher, Matthew Frost, it is quite clear that his encouragement is a large factor in the team’s performance during such a difficult time. When asked how he encourages his team before a meet, Frost replied, “My philosophy is that if they are worried about making mistakes, if they let that overwhelm them, then they run tight and that pretty much guarantees they will have a bad race.”

Frost and his assistant coaches, coach Owen and coach Szuch, have created an environment where they allow kids to build each other up- the team comes first. “Personal bests and placing, that part of [cross country] is important but it’s not the most important thing,” says Frost. By fostering this idea of teamwork and community, it has helped runners to be a part of a family. Right now, being involved in sports and activities is vital to the well-being of students.

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Frost and Palmer Ridge Athletic Department

Due to the current world-wide pandemic, many students have not had the privilege of participating in their sports and after-school activities. When speaking of how this has affected the season, Frost said, “The anxiety of having to worry about the well-being of 60 kids every second of every day has definitely aged me over the last 2 months, but we have been fortunate that this season has not been as compromised as we first thought it would be.”

With students only having two days of in-person learning this semester, it has been hard to create good relationships with peers and teachers. Sports, such as cross country, can be really helpful in this regard: “One of the things [students] all saw in the spring is, teenagers need that social connection, it is hugely important, and so for us to be able to provide that, has been a great benefit from just a mental health perspective… This is a very stressful time!” says Frost.

With girls coming in second at their regional meet, and boys coming in first, the outcome for this Saturday’s State Championship is looking good. Three girls placed top fifteen and four boys placed top ten, one of whom placed third overall!

With the team having recognized their privilege of being able to run this season, they have done a great job at following CHSAA’s [Colorado High School Activities Association’s] COVID-19 guidelines. Those guidelines can be found here. While runners do not have to wear a mask during a race, it is required while they are on the sidelines or before the start of the race. Thankfully for students, this means it does not affect their performance as much as everyone originally thought. As shown from their amazing results at previous races, they have fought through some hardships and will hopefully come out victorious.

Next week, the Bear Truth will interview Matthew Frost and get the opinion of a teammate on the outcome of the upcoming race!