Cross-country should get more recognition

By Judah Heimlich 13′

Pacific Lutheran University’s Men’s cross country team is poised to make it to the West Regional Championships this year but you would never know by the amount of publicity they receive.

The PLU cross-country team deserves more recognition from the school and its students.

Should the size of a team matter when getting publicity from PLU or student organizations?

Cross country coach Heather Kreier said that “in the homecoming flier promoting events that weekend they had the football game and both men’s and women’s soccer games but did not mention the only home meet of the season for the cross country team.”

In the first five issues of the Mast this school year they have not covered anything regarding the cross-country team. Even intramural sports have had more publicity then the cross-country.

The PLU men's cross-country team at practice on the PLU track. PLU's cross-country team has made it to regionals Nov. 12th in Claremont, Calif. Photo by Judah Heimlich

If PLU is not promoting the team and the Mast is not even covering them there is no coverage, which means the team’s popularity cannot grow very easily.

Cross-country is just as exciting as other sports so that is no reason not to cover them.

“It’s a grind; you definitely perform the way you train,” said senior co-captain Sean Andrascik. “Being in a pack of 200 guys is intense and racing against high caliber athletes is just crazy,” said Andrascik. Cross-country is a team sport where individuals can also be recognized for being good. While most team sports have a total of ten players on a court or 22 players on a field cross country can have as many as 200. Anything where 200 men are trying to best each other over a 5 mile course is just as exciting as any other sport out there.

Cross-country’s struggle as a sport is not just a problem at PLU. With all other running sports in the Olympics it might be easy to assume that cross-country is one of them. Online forums such as are swarming with people wanting to bring cross-country back after having a short Olympic run in 1904 and the following four Olympic games. In 2010 the Associated Press wrote an article about the International Olympic Committee meeting with the International Association of Athletics Federation to begin discussing the comeback of cross-country in the Olympics. If the PLU community can catch the same fire that is slowly creeping across the nation then the cross-country team will finally get some recognition.

People may be under the assumption that cross-country is no more than a few people going out for their morning jog and making it a sport. If this were the case then there would be no reason for special recognition worldwide or even campus wide. The men’s cross country team trains by running “50-70 miles per week before the season starts so they can perform at top physical condition,” Andrascik said. When 200 hundred guys are running in one pack at their top condition that is much more than a morning jog by a couple of people.

The PLU cross-country team deserves more recognition not only because of their amazing season but also to the intense physical nature of the sport. If the PLU community can embrace the cross-country team by showing their support and getting the word out about the great season and upcoming races, the team and the sport may then start gaining the recognition they deserve.

Categories: Recreation

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