Junior School Cross Country Team Finds Success


Camden Dierker '26

The 2021 Forest Park Junior School Cross Country Meet has come and gone with some record breaking times for 7-8th grades. There is a lot to talk about. With our top 5 runners placing 4th, 6th,11th,13th, and 16th, we were sure that Priory was taking home the win. Sadly, the team took second place, losing by a mere 3 points to Festus, after our best runner got passed up at the final stretch. Noah Kinnaman, who placed 4th in the cross country meet, got a staggering time of just 11 minutes and 50 seconds, beating the 7-8th grade time by 4 seconds. Camden Dierker was not far behind at just 11:57 for the 6th place spot. Congratulations to Coach Scott and Coach Bobo for their amazing coaching to get these incredible results. 

From these results we also had some laughs, as Noah Kinnaman passed out for a couple of seconds, and Simon Lin and Camden Dierker both puked within 30 seconds of finishing the race. The race at Forest Park was surely physically tiring, but most definitely psychologically tiring after about a good two fifths of the race was just a straight line, and then doubling back for another one fifth of the race. The most intense parts of the race are always the beginning and the end. 

The beginning is tough, as you start to breathe heavily, trying to find your pace and rhythm. You see people shooting ahead of you. You want to go catch them, but know that you must hold back at your own pace. The end, the finale, the close. You see the finish line, wanting to sprint to the end, but can’t find the energy to do so. You hear the breathing of the guy behind you. The footsteps are getting louder. All in that moment, you find a burst of energy, your heart races as you try to beat him. This is where all your courage and strength pays off. If you give up now, you might as well have given up at the beginning. 

Cross country is more than about winning or fast times. It’s about learning to trust yourself and push yourself to your limits. It’s about encouraging your teammates, saying you know they can do it, even if they can’t. Just a small sliver of hope can go so far. From my experience in 7th and 8th grade, this was definitely the hardest I have seen people try at cross country yet. We hope to see more improvement and bonding to come in this 2021 Priory school year.