Men’s cross country team looks ahead to future competition despite face covering challenges

Derek Harper, Staff Reporter

The men’s cross country team is in a state of limbo right now with no season until at least Jan. 7, 2021. 

At that time, they’re expected to be cleared to compete again and have their indoor winter track season. 

According to senior Rajesh Gill, they’re waiting to compete again and have been training since March when they last competed.

According to Gill, most runners run on their own rather than with teammates like before the pandemic. 

However, the team has in-person workouts in the weight room and team meetings twice a week to listen to what head coach Kevin Adkission says while everyone wears a mask.

Gill said despite everything that’s changed, they all still keep in touch with each other, whether on Zoom meetings once a week or outside in person. 

They check in with each other during the week to make sure they’re getting all their training and mileage in and staying consistent. 

For Gill, masks do present a bit of a challenge when it comes to running.

“It’s not the most comfortable thing because you breathe out of your mouth when you’re running so you have something covering your mouth,” Gill said.

Gill said he doesn’t run with a mask on outside if he’s on his own. He crosses the street if somebody comes near him so he doesn’t get close to them. 

However, when he runs indoors or with others, he said the mask makes it challenging.

Another challenge Gill faces while running is wearing glasses and having them fog up due to his warm breath from the mask. He explained his glasses fogging up makes it hard for him to see where he’s going.

Senior Trevor Allen said the team wasn’t as focused as he thought they could be when he joined a few years back. 

According to Allen, the team is now a lot more focused than they were in past years. He really likes where this team has come since he’s got here. 

Allen has been battling a recent injury so while the rest of the team has been running, he’s been on a stationary bike in the Recreation Center. But unlike those running outside, he must wear a mask on the bike.

“It’s not fun to say the least,” Allen said.

Allen said wearing a mask while on the bike is uncomfortable and takes time getting used to. Another change the whole team has had to get used to is not running as a group anymore.

“We are all kind of used to running as a group and we’ve had to stop doing that, it’s all pretty much on our own and that’s probably the one good thing about our sport, we can do it alone,” Allen said.

Adkisson also touched on running on their own instead of as a group like they used to do. He said because of the pandemic, they need to be more aware of safety now more than ever. 

One challenge the team is facing is freshmen on the team don’t live with their teammates so the team is doing what they can to make them feel like part of the team.

Adkisson said when the news hit that they wouldn’t have a fall season, it was a blow and made motivation really difficult since runners worked all summer. 

Adkisson explained how anything faster than an easy run is just not comfortable at all with a mask on. Adkisson said he even went on a run with a mask to experience what it’s like.

Despite the circumstances and changes with not running together and having to wear masks, the cross country team is ready for when competition resumes.