Summer workouts keep athletes connected

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Learning how to push through the last mile, or scramble up a seemingly impassable hill are skills necessary in the sport of cross-country.

In endurance sports, self-improvement is the only way an athlete can improve his or her time.

For Picayune Cross Country Head Coach Chris Wise, the key to making sure his athletes continue to progress is by having summer workouts.

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This allows the team to stay in contact with Wise, but he also uses it as a way to prepare athletes for the upcoming season.

“It’s just to put eyes on them and make sure they’re doing something to improve their fitness,” Wise said.

In order for the athletes to be ready come season time, the workouts serve as a set of building blocks for the team to improve upon.

“Workouts consist of distance in the summer, you have to put the miles in and build the base,” Wise said.

“In endurance sports there’s no replacement for that.”

However, working out is just one aspect of cross-country that’s important for progression.
Wise said that the combination of sleeping habits, dietary decisions and the miles on the course that determine an athlete’s level of success.

When racing at the highest levels, those small decisions can greatly affect the outcome of a race.

“It’s a management thing, it’s really a combination of it all,” Wise said.

Balancing all of these factors has allowed Wise to see some real improvement in some of his athletes.

Rauol Ramos, Carter Edwards, Daniel Moore, and Keirah Moore are just a few of the athletes showing improvement.

Wise said Anna Comeaux has had to battle injuries while managing to get better each week.

Fighting through injuries, investing hours in the sport, and other sacrifices made by these athletes show just how dedicated they are.

“Sacrifice is part of what you have to do to be good at anything,” Wise said. “They can see what it does, and there are tangible gains for all.”
Those gains include mental growth as well with athletes learning how to overcome adversity.

“With cross-country, when they have difficult moments in life they have that in the back of their mind,” Wise said. “The kids learn how to deal with something difficult so they can deal with whatever life throws at them.”

These life lessons are another part of the sport Wise loves.

He sees his responsibilities off the course as being just as important as his duties on the course.

“You just try to make a difference in their lives and be as positive as possible,” Wise said.

“They may not win a race, but they’ll remember how you treat them.”

Wise hopes with time that more athletes will join the program and take advantage of the perks of cross-country.

If a student wanted to play a varsity football game on a Friday night, and then race in a cross country meet the next day that’s something Wise can offer.

“The opportunities are there and it’s a good home for kids who want to improve.”