The varsity cross country team has begun to practice in preparation for their upcoming season, which has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The team currently practices at Griffith Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Junior runner Dylan Bissell said, “Practices are a little different than last year due to the Covid-19 safety protocols. We wear masks which makes it harder to run, and we also try to space ourselves out as much as possible so we can continue to practice as a team.”
Although the team has just been given permission to practice together, they have been working out individually to get into shape for their first race of the season.
Senior runner Arjun Vadgama said, “Outside of Loyola practices, my teammates and I have been running on our own, and occasionally organizing socially distant practices with a few guys. Our hard work during the break should put us in a good place to eventually ramp up to a full practice schedule.”
The Cubs are looking to build off their success from last year. The varsity squad finished 4th at the Division II State Meet and 5th overall in California.
Junior runner Richard Moreno said, “We are proud of last season, but we have even higher expectations for this year’s varsity team. We want to win the state meet. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe that if we push ourselves further than ever before, winning the state meet is possible.”
In terms of individual goals, Bissell said, “Personally I want to finish top 10 in state, as well as help the team succeed in any way I can.”
Despite being a relatively young team this year, the underclassmen are ready to improve and learn from their senior leaders.
Vadgama said, “I am extremely excited to be a senior leader on the team this year, as the seniors have always been superb role models when I was an underclassman. I am grateful for the role and hope I can inspire my teammates to pursue their goals on the team.”
In addition to the senior leadership, the whole varsity squad will look to their head coach Eduardo Diaz for his knowledge and guidance. Bissell said, “Coach Diaz has played a major role in the team’s success. He pulls out the best in everyone and is a great motivator. He makes kids understand that they can be great as long as they put in the work and trust the coaching staff.”
The first race of the season is expected to be on Dec. 26, but is subject to change depending on state CDC guidelines.