Last Saturday marked the commencement of the 2021-2022 cross country season.
The team was originally scheduled to compete at the FNU Invitational at Larry and Penny Thompson Park, but the meet was cancelled due to weather. Instead, Head Coach David Suarez took the girls varsity team, along with a few members of the boys varsity team, to the DDD Sommer Invitational at Estero Community Park, near Ft. Myers, FL, where the Raiders ran their first meet of a scheduled eleven.
Suarez and Duchess Williams, the new head track and field coach, worked with the team throughout the summer to prepare athletes for their upcoming competitions.
One of the summer conditioning activities the team participated in included a team trip to Colorado in order for the runners to experience high-altitude training. The idea behind the training was to help runners become stronger and better equipped to face the challenges that come with long-distance racing.
“Being at altitude for a week gave the [runners] a week of tough training to get their minds and bodies through a tough period before the season got underway. They were also able to bond and spend a lot of time together,” said Suarez. “My expectations for the season are at a high level for this year’s group. This is the best collective group of runners that Gulliver has had in many years.”
There are approximately 39 members on the team as a whole, which includes a variety of ages and racing experience. Freshman Xachary Bloom will be racing on the varsity team for the first time.
“Racing on varsity is a great experience because I get to be surrounded by more experienced runners and learn from them,” Bloom said.
The cross country team also features a strong senior class. Runners, such as senior Olivia Torres, are seasoned veterans of the sport and are kicking off their last season of high school cross country.
“I feel so proud of myself for how far I’ve come,” said Torres. “I’ve been working for this since eighth grade. I’m glad to have my parents and teammates supporting me.”