Sports

Cross Country Competition

By Manal Layachi

Volume 3 Issue 1

November 7, 2022

Cross Country Competition

Image provided by Runner from the cross-country team

On Wednesday, October 19th, 2022, the Varsity Cross Country team competed in the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior meets at Eisenhower Park. This was their last meet before the County Championships. It was a nice, sunny, but chilly fall day: the perfect weather for running and getting a faster time. There were many schools at this invitational, including New Hyde Park High School, Carey High School, and South Side High School. Many team members got a faster time, also known as a personal record. While I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to, I still had so much fun at this meet. I interviewed Coach Boyens and two runners from the team, Elyas Layachi and Zakaraya Layachi.  

 

 

Zakaraya Layachi’s Responses: 

How do you think you did at the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior meets at Eisenhower? 

“I ran well and tried my hardest.” 

How did you feel after your race? 

“I felt like I almost died, and after the race I started to tell the runners to keep up the good work.” 

Did you get emotional about this being your last race to Eisenhower? 

“Yes. I felt emotional and sad that this was my last race at Eisenhower.” 

Are you sad that your last season of Cross Country at North is coming to an end? 

“Yes, because I will miss running with my teammates and being on the same team with my brother and sister.” 

Do you plan on running in college? 

“No. I ran cross country for fun and may run in the future.” 

What are some of your favorite phrases that Boyens says? 

“One my favorite phrases that Boyens says is ‘The grind never stops.’” 

When and why did you decide to join Cross Country? 

“I joined cross country during my junior year because I wanted to stay active and healthy every day.” 

What advice do you have for the future Cross Country team? 

“Work hard and the grind never stops.” 

How has running impacted your life? 

“Running made me feel less stressed, helped me with my academics and mental health, and contributed to the many friendships that I have made.” 

What life lessons have you learned during your running experience? 

“Running is worth it because at the end of the day I got faster, and my mental health was positively impacted. I also learned to never give up and push myself to the limit.” 

Elyas Layachi’s Responses: 

How do you think you did at the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior meets at Eisenhower? 

 

“I think I did alright. I was aiming to break 18 minutes at the meet but didn’t get my goal and instead got 18:16 as my official 5K time. However, I enjoyed the experience and still got a personal best for the season!” 

 

How did you feel after your race? 

 

“I was tired but dissatisfied. I had a goal going into the race but did not accomplish it. However, I was also glad that I made it through the race and still got a pb!” 

 

Did you get emotional about this being your last race to Eisenhower? 

 

“I did, especially in the last mile of the race. I realized that it was the end of my racing career at Eisenhower, so I picked up my speed in an effort to use every ounce of energy left in me. Also, while getting on the bus to leave the park, I thought of how I began my racing career at Eisenhower as a sophomore two years ago. I was proud of how far I came but was sad to leave the course.” 

 

Are you sad that your last season of Cross Country at North is coming to an end? 

 

“Most definitely. It is my favorite sport out of the three running sports I do at North, which are Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track. I love how long the races are because they give me the opportunity to strategize and pick off runners one by one. I will miss racing for Valley Stream North High School at cross country meets for sure.” 

 

Do you plan on running in college? 

 

“I am unsure right now. While I know the commitment is higher for a college varsity distance athlete, I think I would be able to continue my running career in college. However, I am also considering doing other extracurriculars in college, including performing in the orchestra and chorus. If it is possible to do both, I would definitely run in college.” 

 

What are some of your favorite phrases that Boyens says? 

 

“Cross Country is a cerebral sport and requires cerebral fortitude.” 

 

“The grind never stops.” 

 

“Boyens is such a huge motivation in my running career. I admire how he comes out and runs with us every practice, despite his knee pain and other health limitations.” 

 

When and why did you decide to join cross country? 

 

“I joined cross country in my sophomore year in 2021 because I wanted to improve my fitness since I eventually wanted to become an astronaut. However, I decided to continue my racing career because I realized it is a sport I am good at compared to other sports I’ve played.” 

 

What advice do you have for the future of the Cross-Country team? 

 

“To keep grinding, despite the pain and fatigue, because in the end, it’s all worth the pain for the glory.” 

 

How has running impacted your life? 

 

“It made me a more disciplined person. Running every day for half an hour was something I never thought I would become accustomed to, but I eventually did. It taught me to keep grinding and working hard, so I could end up being successful, both academically and athletically. It also helped me manage my time since I had to juggle the sport with my other extracurriculars and academics.” 

 

What life lessons have you learned during your running experience? 

 

“I learned time management, leadership as a team captain, discipline, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I will definitely look back upon my Cross-Country season for the rest of my life!” 

 

Coach Boyens’s Responses: 

 

How do you think the team did at the meet?  

 

“Great day! Lots of season best times! Proud of the team.” 

 

Why did you become a Cross Country coach even though you love to play football?  

 

“I love the idea of learning a new sport. I also love the training and challenge Cross Country provides.” 

 

How do you think the team will do at Counties?  

 

“I am hoping for some personal bests!” 

 

What is the hardest thing about running cross-country?  

 

“The discipline necessary to be a successful cross-country runner is like no other sport. You have to sacrifice a significant part of your life to be great.”  

How do you feel about the cross-country season ending?  

 

“Bittersweet. I love the championship season but am a bit sad that the season is almost finished.” 

 

What do you tell the Cross-Country team when they want to give up or don’t show up to practice?  

 

“Quitters never win, and winners never quit! I believe in you. You can do it!” 

 

When and why did you decide to join Cross Country? 

“I joined Cross Country during my junior year because I wanted to stay active and healthy every day.” 

 

After the races were over, everyone got together and took pictures. We were all sad about how this was the seniors’ last race at Eisenhower. It was emotional because the cross-country season was almost over. The cross-country season went by extremely fast, and the team has been working very hard all season. Cross Country is a challenging sport because it is all about your mentality. It is 80% mental and 20% physical. All runners are tough, both mentally and physically. As Coach Boyens says, “the grind never stops!” The Varsity Cross Country Team competed at the County Championships on Saturday, October 29th, 2022. Be sure to congratulate our awesome team and coaches. GO SPARTANS!!