All ten North girls, decked out in their new team warm-ups, descended from the bus on the first chilly morning of the season. In spite of a lingering cough, Sydnie slipped back into the role of leader for her team. Fellow-senior Ashleigh, done with her last summer obligations, was ready to kick off her farewell season. Lone freshman Cheyenne was sufficiently recovered from mono to make her high school cross-country debut. However, only eight were there to race, with sophomore Calina on the sidelines still recovering from a knee injury alongside newly-limping Vidhi.
As the runners hatched warm-up plans, the coaches plotted out their strategy. For North, this, the Mentor Cardinal Classic was the first race of the season with both a varsity and a JV race. The coaches decided that Cheyenne, Mollee and Caitlin would run in the JV race, so Cheyenne could experience less pressure in her first high school race and Mollee and Caitlin would have an opportunity to race with more runners at their level, rather than mostly alone like last time.
This decision left Sydnie, Natalie, Lydia, Ashleigh and Hannah together on the starting line of the varsity race. On paper, before this season, these five varsity runners would be seeded thusly: Sydnie, Natalie, Ashleigh, Lydia, Hannah. But so far, Natalie and Lydia have been leading the team together with Hannah holding steady behind them. How would the two seniors change the dynamic? Would everyone fall in line? Read more >>