Running in the Shadows: The High Intensity Sport of Cross Country that No One is Talking About

Charlie White (Grade 12) crossing line at the Ocean State Invitational 2022


Another blissful summer of fun and relaxation has come to a close. The juvenile elation found in the depths of July and August have been swiftly pulled away, and replaced with the studious nature of the autumnal semester. A new school year filled with the promises of new friendships, piles of homework that – let’s admit it – we’re all not ready to be sprung upon us, and the competitive nature of sports.

The Warde community, referred to as The Stampede, often rallies together on brisk October nights to cheer on our Football team while they throw around the old pigskin on our home field. While the games typically have you wrapped in three layers of shirts (even when the game is beach themed), the excitement that comes with watching your friends within the 100 yards pass, score, and intercept the ball feels unmatched. Ask a senior who’s been wandering the hallways for four years, and they will confidently tell you that some of their best “Mustang memories” were made on the steely bleachers, clutching a warm cup of ramen or laughing with bandmates in the stands. However, while America’s favorite pastime reigns, another sport is running in the shadows. A sport rarely mentioned at pep rallies, and certainly overshadowed during the homeroom intercom. This, of course, would be the sport known as Cross Country. Cross Country, typically abbreviated to “XC”, may just be the most underrated sport at Fairfield Warde High School. 

Cross Country is a sport where the objective is to run from point A to point B in as little time as possible, over terrain meant to tire out the runner. If you think that sounds simple, it is. However, those who compete in Cross Country meets put in serious amounts of effort to attain a faster time for races. The Cross Country team at Warde, coached by Tim Foster, gathers everyday after school to train and workout so that they may prove to be tougher competition against other teams that they face off against. The top athletes on the team have mile times that can only be obtained through hard work and dedication. On September 24th, the Ocean State Invitational was held in Warwick, Rhode Island. It’s an event that boasts well over 1,000 athletes from all across New England. A massive event to be sure. A massive event that I’d bet you had not heard of until now, as there was no mention of it over the PA during homeroom like other fall sports have received. With so many runners, one may assume that there is no chance that a little Fairfield high school could compete, especially with a team unrecognized by a majority of the student population. However, the belief is thoroughly and utterly incorrect. Fairfield Warde High School proudly came in third place in the Boys Varsity 5k, competing with 30 other teams. Two boys on the team, Parker Broderick and James Cunningham, placed within the top ten runners. Broderick came in third place overall (his time an extremely impressive 16:26.2). That’s a 5:17 mile pace! 

The team’s incredible performance in Rhode Island is evidence that the light that is spread over other fall sports must be shared with Cross Country. If you’re still convinced that other fall sports are worth solely concentrating on, I urge you to attend a meet this season. Not only does the autumnal setting provide beautiful scenery, but the athletes will surely prove that Cross Country is a sport that is just as impressive as football, and should surely be a priority of the Warde sporting world.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.