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XC Team Finds Perseverance and Success Amidst Season End

First Assembly Christian School student-athletes Connor Carter, senior, and Dannie Baker, sophomore, advanced to the Cross Country (XC) State Meet on Friday, November 4, 2022, in Hendersonville, Tenn., a huge accomplishment for both. Connor also finished first and second in several season meets and placed second overall in the regional meet.

The XC team completed a successful 2022 season, competing in seven meets overall. Thank you to coaches Tanner Burnett and Jacki Drane for dedicating your time and talents to FACS and for pushing these student-athletes to compete at their best level!

Coach Drane shares insights of a successful running season.

We sat down with FACS Varsity Cross Country Crusader team coach, Jacki Drane, to ask her a few questions about the season. Check out her responses below.

Q: How many meets did the teams compete in, and what consists of a XC meet?

A: Our varsity team competed in six regular season meets and then Regionals. So seven meets overall. A XC meet consists of a 5k (3.1 mile) run on terrain, so trail and grass (no pavement). It requires a lot of endurance to run a Cross Country 5k.

Q: How do the student-athletes prepare for a race?

They prepare by running anywhere from 15-40 miles a week, depending on how long they have been at the sport and their ability to train. Workouts consist of tempo runs, speed work and long runs.

Q: What has this running season meant to you?

This running season has been both incredible and tough. I’ve seen these young men and women work very hard and persevere even when they didn’t feel like it.

There was a lot of fear for all of us after the Eliza Fletcher kidnapping, and it was crazy to think that we could get hurt or attacked doing what we love to do. Students talked with coaches and expressed their fears, but then instead of running less, they just got together for long runs (which they’d often do on their own) and pushed each other to keep going. That was encouraging to see as a coach.

Out of the conversations about fear we also were able to talk about how our ultimate hope is in heaven and that can never be taken from us. We were able to talk about how to be wise and safe during runs as well.

Q: Why is this a valuable sport for students?

I think this sport teaches perseverance and staying power. It’s tough to run so far, so every finished race exhibits mental strength. Not every race is a personal best, so students learn to keep working hard over the long haul towards their goals. Cross Country is hard work. I think that’s valuable in a world where so many things offer instant gratification.

Q: What’s one thing you’d like families to know about the team this year that they may not otherwise know?

This is a fun group of students! I think I’ve laughed more this season than I ever have. It’s also the first time that I know of that we have had a full men’s Varsity team roster. I’d love to see that continue.

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