The sport is cross country. The team that has been punishing their opponents is Ocean Lakes. And their coach believes this is the most talented group of athletes he has coached in 20 years.
On the girls’ side, they are led by senior captain Nicole Clanton.
“When I started running, I didn’t like it. I just loved it for the social aspect but then you kinda get addicted to improving and just doing good for the team,” she says.
Daniel Beard leads the boys team. He and senior co-captain John Will run to test their limits.
“It’s just something about that struggle out there, just giving it your all. Nothing else is like it,” Daniel says.
“I’m always trying to test my limits, find out how far I can go and running is a great way to do that. There are very few limits when it comes to running. You can always push yourself further and push yourself faster,” John says.
And what goes through their minds on these long runs?
“Everything. Sometimes if you’re like, stressed out with schoolwork, sometimes it actually just helps to get out and run. It just helps you clear your mind, run with some of your best friends and just get away from it all for a little,” Daniel says.
“This sport is definitely much more of a mental than a physical sport, a lot of us would say. It’s really hard but you kind of just, mind over body and pain is temporary, pride is forever,” Nicole says.
When it comes to practice, this team takes the unofficial Post Office motto to heart – neither snow nor rain or dark of night will stop this group from training.
They run six to seven days a week.
For John, it’s a chance to spend time with his dad, who runs with the team during practice.
The only time you’ll see the team walk is in the school hallways. The rest of the time, they will be keeping one foot on the ground.