There is a scene at the end of the Disney movie McFarland USA in which the movie’s protagonists, the McFarland cross country team runners, return to run with the present-day team. The credits show how the runners, who beat all odds forming a team and winning the first-ever California cross country state championship in 1987, have continued to do the same throughout the rest of their lives as they went on to college and pursued successful careers.
While EC cross country is just five years old, the tradition of the alumni returning to run with the team is an important part of the fall season. Despite conflicts with returning to college and work, as many of the alumni as possible return to run with the team. This year, the team participated in a scavenger hunt, covering more than a couple miles all over campus, to find each alumna.
Alumni shared their favorite cross country memories and advice for dealing with this season, despite the challenges and changes. They focused on not comparing their capacities and believing that they are capable of more than they think they are. New team members listened attentively to the alumni share their stories of success. Cross country wasn’t the end of running for the alumni. Coach Mary Williams joked with them that several of them are logging more miles now than when they were required to run summer miles in high school.
Five alumni were in attendance. Kate Funke ’20, Molly Milosch ’20, and Sarah Stafford ’17 were founding members of the team. Kate and Molly saw the team to two state qualifications and its first regional title. Monica Williams ’18 and Lila Thewes ’20 also joined the team for practice. The team ended practice with popsicles and a decade of the rosary, praying for the team and the season ahead.