ORONO – Cross country is back, and while practice started later than usual, members of Orono cross country have been running since the summer in order to find some sense of normalcy amid COVID-19.
“Our thing was just to train as much as possible and provide as much of a framework and a team as we could,” said Erin Gerbi, a senior on the team.
Because in cross country, the moment you are most alone and ready to quit is the moment when teammates become most important.
“Even if you’re alone on the course, there are six others of you out there and they’re feeling the same thing and you just want to push through for them,” said Gerbi.
For the Orono girls cross country team, that support played a large role in its Class C State Championship last year.
“I think it’s a group of kids that are really close and enjoy running with each other and for each other, and it adds that extra incentive in big meets,” said Julia White, a senior for the Red Riots.
While COVID-19 continues to throw hurdles at the feet of all athletes, the Red Riots’ bond will be tested even further. They will run the 2020 season without long-time head coach Lin White leading the charge.
“It definitely affected us a lot when we got the news this summer..It kind spun the whole program upside down,” said Gerbi.
Mathy Terrill will take over head coaching duties in 2020 after serving as assistant coach under White last season.
“His shoes really can’t be filled,” said Terrill.
With a shakeup at head coach, the Red Riots are still confident that their team chemistry will be the stabilizing force throughout the season.
“We all work together and train together and hurt together and so that really kind of creates this bond,” said Gerbi.
Terrill said she is excited for the opportunity, and happy that at the end of the day, they still have a season.
“Just that we can get together and laugh a little and live a little and run a little. I think it’s really important.”
Orono will begin their 2020 season at Hermon on September 24.