By Sarah Evans

Throughout this semester I documented the lives of the cross country team at Lakewood. The team is made up of sixteen seventh and eighth graders from Communities 3 through 6. What I found wonderfully interesting about the team was that they all have relationships with one another outside of cross country. Some are in the same community and work together on classwork, some participate in Latin Club, some are on the cheerleading squad, and others spend time together in the Learning Commons. The team is also incredibly dedicated to their sport. Although they’re usually laughing and joking, the runners get serious on the cross country course. Their coach, Mr. Rudisill, is caring, fun and encouraging, and it’s obvious that his team truly appreciates him.

This project was an immense undertaking but was ultimately very rewarding. I feel like I really got to know this team, and they reminded me of the great friendships I had in middle school. I would hope that my project reminds everyone of what it’s like to be in the state of transition that is middle school. These kids are being pulled in so many directions: school, family, homework, friends, sports, clubs, and more. Cross country gives these students a chance to forget all that, even if it’s only for a mile or two. And the friendships on this team will keep the team strong as they continue running through life.

Thank you to Mr. Rudisill and the fabulous 2012 Cross Country Team for being such incredible subjects.