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Tahoma tames trails and opponents | Cross Country
By Alexandra Bolton
Tahoma senior Madeleine Dennis may be among a minority when it comes to her fervor for cross country.
“It’s a love-hate sport,” Dennis said. “Either you love it or you hate it, and for some reason we just love it.”
It’s hard not to respect the training and dedication which allowed these high school runners to build the successful program that is Tahoma cross country.
Dennis and fellow senior Cheyenne Greenside have been best friends since second grade and teammates in track and cross country during their four years at Tahoma. With palpable excitement, the girls expressed their enthusiasm for the sport, their senior season, and a team that has become family.
Spaghetti feeds fuel bodies and team bonding before each meet, creating a unity that ignores typical varsity-JV, male-female, upperclassmen-underclassmen distinctions.
“The goal is to make everyone around you better,” Greenside said. “Even if you’re wanting to die at that moment, you kind of have to just keep pushing because it’s like ‘OK, I have all these girls on top of me. I need to go, I need to go for them.’ I guess the goal this year is to do it for each other more than just doing it for yourself.”
Dennis agreed that it is about finding the balance between personal motivation and the team mindset.
“We all want to be that number one runner, but we all have to keep in mind that we’re making each other better at the same time,” Dennis said.
Leaders like Riley Campbell, the only senior among the boys, are confident in the ability to do well this season.
“We lost five seniors, but I think we have people that are going to surprise all the other teams in the state,” Campbell said. “We’re actually pretty good.”
Personally dreaming of winning state, Campbell hopes for the boys as a team to improve upon their eighth place finish at state last year.
After the first league meet and this past weekend’s invitational, Campbell is the fastest boy in the SPSL and he does not have far to climb to the top. Greenside and Dennis have also made strong starts with Greenside finishing second in the first league meet Sept. 18.
Having graduated only one senior from a team that claimed second in state last season, the Tahoma girls are also looking for the chance to better an already impressive record.
If their performances in the league opener against Kentridge and Auburn Riverside and the girls first place finish coupled with the boys second place finish at the Fort Steilacoom invitational Sept. 21 are any indication, the Bears have a promising cross country season ahead.
Alexandra Bolton is a freelance reporter and 2009 Kentlake High graduate. Reach her at email@example.com. To comment on this story log on to www.covingtonreporter.com.