Cross Country eager to improve, hopes for strong season

By Sean Collins
September 21, 2011

Cabrini’s cross country team has a new look for 2011. The team is innovating new training methods to work on their goal for the season: to be better than they were last year.

The team trains every morning, Monday through Thursday, at 7 a.m. The group meets later in the day to practice various workouts. Their training routine includes stretches, sit ups, pull workouts, crab walks and of course, long distance runs.

Fridays are their only day off, and as junior runner Jeff Young puts it, serve as a great day to “carb- load” before big races. The team is fortunate to have a seasoned and experienced leader in coach Tom O’Hora.

He has been coaching at Cabrini for 30 years and has had the privilege of leading the Cavaliers to 17 championships.

O’Hora describes cross country as a non-glory tough sport; however, he also describes it as a sport heavy in team work.

“It’s one of the last sports that actually requires teamwork and working together,” O’Hora said. “Each person relies on their teammate.”

When asked how the team trains, O’Hora has a simple response: hard. Each team member approaches training with some individuality. Even with some different running preparation, all Cabrini runners mix in various exercises and workouts to keep each other at the top of their performance.

O’Hora makes them overcome some tough challenges to keep them at their best. One of these is what coach O’Hora likes to call kamikazes: practice workouts consisting of 45 minutes of continuous exercise and running.

Coach O’Hora has great confidence in his runners, but stressed that the team is still in a rebuilding mode. While the team is still new, they are already training hard and working together. The team features several potential stars from each class year.

Great efforts are anticipated from freshmen Jesse Oyala and Ackeem Jones, from sophomore Joshua Sutterfield and junior Young.  Speed and steady leadership will also be provided by team captain, junior Kate Freyvogel.

You will see the students  gather together in the morning when many of them eat breakfast as a group. Bonding early in the year is important for all of the runners , especially the freshmen.

“It’s fulfilling to know your fellow teammates,” Freyvogel said. “Running isn’t easy, so it’s good to know you have people you can count on and trust.”

This team has become closer through their love of the sport as well as their commitment to working together. A big part of this commitment entails preparation, no matter if the runners are practicing or getting ready for a big meet.

Before a big run, they always preview the course, so they can know exactly where and how long they will be running.  As they train as a team, each individual focuses on their own unique goals as well.

One example is Sutterfield, who trains by running all the workouts to the very best of his ability.

“I want to run as best as I can and be better than last year,” Sutterfield said.

Some teammates also have added other measures for success this year. Young wants to not only improve as a person but also interact with people and get to really know his fellow teammates.

While very pleased with his runners, coach O’Hora welcomes any newcomers.

“If you want to get in the best shape of your life, then this is the place to be,” O’Hora said. “It may be tough, but we all have fun.”

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Sean Collins

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