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API Cross Country Meet in Guam

“The Guam race was undoubtedly the largest sporting event I have ever participated in and arguably one of the most noteworthy points in KIS Cross Country history.”

– Roger Han

As the fall sports season comes to an end, the Varsity Cross Country runners return from an international meet at Guam highly decorated, and very tan. Two cross country runners, Michelle Kwon (‘18) and Patrick Seong (‘19), received 14th place for girls and 15th place for boys respectively, came back with individual medals. Out of the dozens of teams that participated in this international meet, KIS came in 5th place overall making a mark in the international community.

As these athletes get ready for the season’s end, Blueprint interviewed them on their running accomplishments and their final thoughts on the 2015-16 cross country season.

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KIS in 5th?!

  1. How is this year’s cross country different from other seasons?

“I think the main difference between this season’s the past seasons’ Cross Country is that the team is much younger now. For example, this year’s Guam team included runners of all classes, from freshman to senior. In contrast, last year’s team consisted of three seniors, four juniors, and no underclassmen.

“In the past seasons, age hierarchies were strong, but this season, I have been noticing leaderships from all grade levels, whether that involves cheering teammates during races or being unafraid to voice their opinions.”

– Roger Han (’17)

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Captain Jerry Kim

“I think we are much more bonded as a team compared to other previous seasons. As the biggest team by far in KIS, we always faced difficulty having a solid bond in a team. I’ve faced challenges myself as a freshman and a sophomore trying to communicate with older members. Although I can’t really say we are perfectly unified, I can definitely say that we are much better than previous seasons so far. I really do hope that it gets better each year even after I leave. “

– Jerry Kim (’16)

“We as coaches sat down before the season started and mapped out every practice for the entire year. We had a vision going into the season of what we wanted to accomplish and because of it we’ve been a lot more organized and it’s shown in how well we’ve done so far.” – Coach Yanuszeski

  1. How does it feel to get 5th place at Guam, an international cross country race?

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“It’s a fantastic achievement for us and a surprising one, too, because we never expected to fully “compete” in Guam. We truly made history this year, with two of KIS runners earning the Guam award, something that has never happened before. It shows that KIS is now a serious contender among the Pacific schools. Personally, I feel privileged to be a part of the team at this notable moment.”

– Roger Han

“It truly feels awesome. For the first time in KIS history, we have placed 5th place overall out of 26 schools in API. Most of the schools competing there have a yearlong season with runners that run in both cross country and track and field. However, KIS runners have only 2-3 months of season. That just shows how hard and effectively we train during the short time we have compared to those other teams competing at Guam. Just last year, we were happy with placing in top 10 at Guam. Now, we aim higher to be at top 5. We are improving each season. Can’t wait until the next season to see how much better they improve.”

– Jerry Kim

“Finishing 5th overall and beating teams like SAS and HKIS prove that our team has been growing and getting better each year. It also proves we can hang with the big schools.”

– Coach Yanuszeski

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The 2015 XC Team at Guam

  1. Because the cross country team has 60+ members, many say it doesn’t have the same “team” feel, do you agree/disagree?

“I personally disagree, because I don’t think there’s a limit to the size of a team. Cross Country requires lots of motivation and dedication, and I think the runners need those 60+ members to help each other out along the way. During practices, we usually run more than 5k, which means that runners may get isolated and run by themselves. Thankfully, we have such a large team, which allows different groups of people to run together and push each other.”

– Roger Han

“I totally disagree. We are just a big team. It’s easy to think of this team as a huge family with tons of relatives. Although some relatives are closer than others, everyone in the family is special to us. It’s same for the cross country team. Volleyball and Tennis team have small family with just 12 relatives. Cross country just has 60 relatives who are all equally special. Although I do admit that some are closer than others, we have the bond that unites us all because we are a family.”

– Jerry Kim

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“Yeah, the larger a team gets, the harder it is to feel like a family. That’s why we’ve tried to do some team building throughout the year. But at the end of the day everyone goes through the same tough workout and you kind of bond in those hard practices and see the reward in the race.”

– Coach Yanuszeski

“I disagree because I think that when I run, I am running for my team.”

– Beth Purdon

  1. Any tips for future xc runners/those aspiring to make it to Guam next year?

“The trip to Guam is treated as the highlight of many participants, and with such big event comes responsibility and dedication. Runners at Guam represent KIS at an international level, so the participants must be ready to give it their all during races. There is a year of time until next year’s Guam trip, so with enough commitment to running, anyone could make it next year. The ones who have been to Guam multiple times during their Cross Country careers are the ones who love Cross Country and are ready to sacrifice other things for running.”

– Roger Han

“First, train in the off season. Nothing improves your time more than training in the off season. You might be the slowest runner in the team, but you can become a varsity runner just for running in the off season. It can totally change your season. Second, make use of every single practices. We have a very short season. If you start making excuses and skip practices, you will never be able to improve. You should put everything you have in all the practices we have in the season. Third and last, prevent injuries. Injuries can be devastating as it can ruin your season as a whole. Therefore, it is your duty as an athlete to take care of your own body. If you have an inevitable injury, then you should do anything you can to quickly shake it off. Time is the most important factor that coaches consider to choose athletes to go to Guam. Therefore, using these tips can definitely help you to drop your time and enjoy your time at Guam.”

– Jerry Kim

“TRAIN OVER THE SUMMER! That’s the difference. If they are serious about Guam, or making varsity then they have to train over the off-season and show up in shape. People who don’t train tend to break down and we’ve seen that every year.”

– Coach Yanuszeski

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  1. Things you’ll miss most as the season comes to an end?

“I’ll definitely miss running with my teammates the most. I still see my friends and coaches after the season, but I cannot meet with tens of people and experience the pain and joy of running everyday. This is also the reason why I think runners should cherish every single moment of the season, because they’ll never experience anything like a high school Cross Country team after graduation.”

– Roger Han

“I will really miss my team members. I can guarantee that this team has the nicest and the best members out of all teams in KIS. No matter how hard the practices were hard or races were tough, I was able to continue my cross country career because of my team members. I don’t think I’ll able to find a group of people as awesome as the group in this team.”

– Jerry Kim

“The team spirit.”

– Beth Purdon

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The infamous XC bananas.

“All the team bonding Fridays, the bananas after a hard practice, the ice cold Powerades after races, I don’t know… Everything!”

– Anonymous Cross Country Runner

“This is a loaded question…That moment when you see someone accomplish something they never thought they could do, when they rise to the challenge and meet it head on. That feeling everyone gets when they knew they gave it their all and earned that reward and being able to share in those moments with each person on the team… That’s what I will miss most.”

To summarize: “XC members reading this, thank you all.” – Jerry Kim

 

– Juyon Lee (’18)

(Picture credits to Jinny Lee (’16))

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