Running at PVHS

Sophomore and Varsity girl’s runner, Chloe Alchin, leads the pack at the final stretch to the finish line, placing 1st overall against Sutter High School at Sutter’s home course.

Ryan Teesdale

Sophomore and Varsity girl’s runner, Chloe Alchin, leads the pack at the final stretch to the finish line, placing 1st overall against Sutter High School at Sutter’s home course.

Uncertainty, unpredictability, a pandemic… the list just goes on and on. Let’s face it, sports this year has been unlike anything athletes have ever experienced. The Cross Country team successfully kicked off their season with a total of 28 individuals who came out to pour their hard work and commitment into becoming the best they could possibly be, which undoubtedly gave the team a sense of normalcy in coping with the chaos around them.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) gave Cross Country the green light as the first sport to begin competing, with the exceptions of necessary safety protocols and guidelines to be followed. Athletes as well as spectators were required to mask up during all times at meets unless they were in competition. From January 30th to March 13th, boys and girls from both JV and Varsity were all able to show up to compete in a total of 8 dual meets, ending the very last with a multi-school race that was approved by Butte County Public Health. The team won 6 races against competing schools in dual meets and placed 2nd in the final race among 6 other high schools. The team also were able to travel to meets by bus, taking the same precautionary measures. They also opened up and hosted their new home course in Upper Park for the first time, looping around 5 mile, past Horseshoe Lake, and back around for a strong downhill finish.

Senior and Varsity runner, Evelyn Allen, reflects upon her best achievements and what factors helped contribute to her accomplishments. Allen answered, “Some achievements were the races at Las Plumas and Sutter High Schools. The Las Plumas route was new and I didn’t really know where I was running. My team and I also didn’t have much time before the race to warm up or prepare. However, I pushed past the uncertainty of it all and beat my previous time.”

Not to mention, Allen’s special achievement helped drive the Varsity girl’s team to beat the #3 and #4 teams, Orland and Sutter High, in the Northern Section all in the same week along with the other Varsity runners. “The Sutter High School race was also an achievement because of the long, strenuous hill towards the end of the race. My legs were extremely tired when I got to the hill and I desperately wanted to give up halfway. But, I pushed through and continued on strong and ended up having a good race!”, concluded Allen.

Junior and Varsity runner, Tryon Jardin, shared a few lessons and memories he acquired and their importance that he will never forget. Jardin answered, “Looking back on this time, something I’ll never forget is that first practice back since everything was shut down. We all owe it to our amazing coaches, Vince Phipps, Tom George, Ryan Teesdale, and Taylor Brooks for making the endless sacrifices in having such a successful season.” Jardin heavily emphasized how racing at meets would have never been possible without the hard work all the coaches put in.

Jardin’s learned lessons stress how important safety rules applied to everyone in order to still remain in the season. “Knowing we could get shut down at any moment was extremely nerve racking, and I think it made everyone a lot more cautious with their mask wearing and social distancing. It was the beginning of a new standard in our lives and I’ll definitely remember that for a very long time”, said Jardin.

Coach Ryan Teesdale shares his perspective on how coaching this year has impacted him much differently than the previous year. “Checking in individually with health questions, along with a lot of paperwork and monitoring athletes outside of typical duties became the new norm. Although it’s been a stressful ride, there was nothing more rewarding than to be the first one to fire up a sport season”, Teesdale said.

Everyone felt immense pride wrapping up the season, a different feeling they’ve felt for a long time. Teesdale added, “Starting the season was a high point, in addition to seeing the boys and the girls being competitive on the sectional level. The most exciting race to see was definitely the first race and seeing so many parents and spectators show up to cheer and support us on.”

The team was extremely successful at persisting through the barriers of uncertainty into something that gave them a sense of normalcy amidst the pandemic, especially when one of their high school years was being put on hold for the most part. As Cross Country closes this chapter of the season, they turn to the next to begin Distance Track this spring. If this is something that you’re interested in, be sure to come by Coach Teesdale’s room, (C6) where you can be a part of the cohesive and supportive family and begin your running journey!