Malone’s cross country teams consistently discover success on the course. They frequently finish in the top half of
the conference, and they beat division one teams along the way. A lot of that success is attributed to head coach
Jack Hazen, but the success goes deeper.
Student leadership is essential to the dynamic of each team. Styles of leadership vary, but all teams have attempted
to balance hard work and fun to find success.
This year’s women’s team is operating under a different dynamic than that of previous years. As the lone senior,
Sarah Meek is discovering how to lead without being the center of the team.
“I think my leadership abilities are a little bit different than the leaders in the past,” Meek said.
Managing those abilities has led Meek to discovering how roles interact on a team.
“Cross country is really about knowing your role on the team and then seeing the other girls’ roles on the team.”
Knowing roles and approaching them as a team is critical to success in cross country, and having a leader able to
do that is essential.
“[You] need someone you can trust who will set that pace. [You need to be able to] trust someone when they say
it’s time to pick up the pace, they will go,” Meek said.
Each runner’s finish greatly impacts the team score, so it is important for each person to fulfill their role. Finding
the niche can be the difference between regionals and nationals.
“Everyone is running to the finish line,” Meek said.
Although the individual finishes may be more widely recognized, cross country truly is a team sport. Great leaders
capitalize the strengths of the team while in practice and on the course.
The women’s team has found an effective team dynamic, and the men have done so as well. However, the method
for success looks very different for the two teams.
An essential aspect of the men’s team is balancing their well-known shenanigans with hard work.
Senior captain Ryan Roush said that balance can be difficult to maintain and even more challenging to see from the
“You might not see [the balance] when we are stealing the football golf cart, but we are putting in the miles and
working hard,” Roush said.
Partnerships between the men and women have balanced the differences in leadership styles. That kind of
comradery has helped fuel Malone cross country to sustained success and will continue to do so in the future.
Seth Byrd is the Sports Editor for The Aviso