Starting the season with a strong stride

Diamond Bar High School cross country team starts on the right foot with almost twice as many runners as last year. 

However, while the entire operation has returned to in-person, the season will still be different from the pre-pandemic years. Athletes and parents are more cautious in preventing the spread of COVID as testing positive would mean contact tracing, and may affect the entire team. Some of the invitationals that they attended in the past have yet to return, while some will remain virtual.

“We’re still in a pandemic. We’re just fortunate to not have it as bad as other parts of the world,” sophomore L’Mio Edwards said via Instagram. “Compared to the earlier stages of the pandemic, we get to practice more frequently and have access to the weight room.” 

As of now, the athletes have not received much information regarding the season or the schedule. 

Despite the uncertainties, the athletes said they have high hopes for this year as many have trained through the entire summer.

Training changes from day to day with Monday being a mid-distance run, which is five to seven miles depending on the person. Tuesday is speed/sprint workout day and Thursday is hill workouts. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are typically rest days. Class time usually means using the weight room, but, sometimes, the runners get a few miles instead.

“I expect to set a new personal record for myself this season,” Edwards said. “I’m aiming to shave off a minute from last season’s time.”

This year’s girls captains are juniors Natacia Mannix-Tellez, Jenna Schwarz and senior Carissa Jeon. 

The captains for the boys are seniors Bobby Zhu, Nathan Lin and Jacob Moskovitz. 

Although the six captains are already set in place, the top runners are not yet established due to the lack of competitions.

With more training time, less uncertainty and less stress due to COVID, head coach Malinalli Cooke said she anticipates improvements for this season

“My expectations are really the same as they are every year – that the returning athletes improve from last year, that the new athletes fall in love with the sport and stick with it, that the team builds cohesion, that we do our best,” Cooke said via email.