COVID-19 has changed things completely for students and athletes over the past six months. One thing it didn’t change is the effort that the EC cross country team has put into their summer mileage. As the team has grown and matured entering its fifth season, the summer mileage requirements to attend camp have increased. This year the 16 camp attendees ran a collective 1,622 miles prior to camp beginning on July 22.
Throughout the summer, runners have participated in strength training workouts as a team and logged miles individually or in small groups. As the camp date approached, it was hard to determine if the state would be in a phase that would allow for camps. It was the final two weeks before camp that head coach Mary Williams received confirmation that hosting the camp was permissible within MHSAA guidelines for cross country and the current guidelines for camps. It wasn’t until the team was actually on the road that they were confident that nothing in the state’s regulations would change that would prohibit them from participating in the camp they had worked so hard to earn.
The team talked about the protocols for workouts, completed all necessary screening, and put additional cleaning measures in place. At the end of the day, the camp was what it always is: an opportunity to spend time growing and bonding as a team, putting in some really solid workouts, and days full of laughter and fun. The team claimed their first regional championship last year. After graduating six seniors last year, the team has three new freshmen and two new seniors to complete the team. They have goals to repeat their regional victory and claim their first CHSL championship title which they narrowly lost last year. Ultimately, their real goals are about growing as a team and as individuals and run well while they do it.
In coach Mary Williams’s opinion, their goals are achievable. “Each year the group of girls impresses me more. This group was fully prepared for camp, and it showed in their workouts. I completely rewrote the traditional camp workouts after I saw them complete their first workout. They are ready. We are going to do everything we can to have the best season possible amidst the current circumstances. Several of our larger meets have already been canceled, but we are going to work hard and make the most of it.”