By Karen Pegueros
Many people confuse cross country with track and field. Although they both involve running, they are extremely different.
“Cross country is way different from track in many ways,” Grace Petrie, junior, said. “Track is always on a track with a smaller group of people while cross country is run on a course with a larger group. I personally like cross country better because the whole team feels more like a family.”
Cross country involves daily practices of four to six miles. Both practices and races are done on different trails outside of school. Meets usually range from the shortest at 2.5 miles (Foothill’s course) to the average 5k (3.1 miles). All teammates are required to participate in races that usually occur once or twice a week.
“Cross country, the difference, is obviously one race compared to multiple,” Mr. Tondryk, cross country coach, said. “They’re also longer. The nice thing is that you have different terrains and courses, so it is not as monotonous.”
Most importantly cross country takes place in the fall. Intramurals begin mid-summer while track intramurals are in the winter, and the season starts early in the spring.
“While cross country focuses more on distances runners, track has events for every type of athlete including sprinting, jumping, throwing, and pole vault,” Mr. Bolken, track and field coach, said.
Track also involves field events such as long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, shot-put, and discuss. Track running events include sprints (100m-400m), mid-distance (800m-1600m), distance (3200m), and hurdles (100m-300m). Practices occur on the track or field every day after school. Only the top seven in each event get to attend away meets.
“I like track better because there’s more freedom,” varsity runner Alexander Cutler, junior, said. “You choose your event while in cross country, there’s really only the 5k. I love them both either way. When my mom confuses them, I get really mad.”
Both sports require dedication and determination. Not to mention comfortable workout clothes and a good pair of running shoes.