Reanna Wauer and Marcela Riddick are two of the four seniors on the Varsity Cross Country team. Wauer and Riddick sat down with The Oracle to discuss their roles as seniors on the team.
Why do you like to run cross country?
RW: I really like cross country because I think it’s tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. It’s really, really, really hard but you just feel so good afterwards and it’s a mental battle the whole time. I think it’s a really great team because it is so hard and you’re going through it all together so you really bond in that way. Even though it is an individual sport, you’re going through the same things so you connect.
MR: For me, coming in as a new ninth grader, it was really important for me to be a part of a team. I’ve always been an athlete, but I wanted to meet new friends. I wanted to play a sport and meet new friends and it’s also a great way for me to stay in shape for basketball.
How has the season been so far?
RW: It’s been good. Leyla Namazie [’17]won third place at our last meet so that was really exciting. It’s very much just competing with ourselves. I know that I’m not going to win first place because I’m just not at that level, but it’s like I’m competing with how I did last time and doing better than I did before. I still want to beat the person in front of me, but I’m not necessarily going for gold.
MR: It’s really fun. It’s such a different group of girls. There are so many different athletes so we have a lot of soccer players, basketball players and track runners. We each have our own strengths and I think last week Coach Mathis played into that and she had a competitive day. We had a scavenger hunt, but it ended up being all workout stuff. So we had to do 100 sit-ups and 100 crunches and run off-campus for warm up and create a song. So keeping us competitive is one of those things that she likes to do.
Do you have any hopes for the team for this season?
MR: Coach Riley said he’s not cutting his hair unless we win league. His hair is getting awfully long and none of us like it so we’re trying to win league this year. There are two major meets this week. One is a league meet and one is an invitational. The invitational is the biggest invitational in the country that happens at Mount SAC, which is San Antonio College. That’s a big deal. I think everybody’s missing at least four periods that day. We leave really early in the morning and it’s an all day thing. It’s really intense.
It’s really big and it is kind of overwhelming but having [the two coaches] there is really comforting. We hang out. We party on the bus. But when it’s time to get serious and time to get our game faces on, we’re there. It’s challenging ourselves as a team, which is always really cool.
Coach Mathis always says, “It’s not about your times. It’s not about winning. It’s not about losing. It’s about the things that you take away from the sport that you’re playing. It’s learning that discipline and pushing yourself to that 130% percent.” She doesn’t care if you come in last place, as long as you’re running the whole way and you’re trying and you’re putting in that effort. That’s all that she really cares about.
What is it like to be leading a team of varsity team members?
RW: We haven’t picked captains yet, but as a senior I think it’s really cool because we’re all friends. It’s not necessarily like we are bossing each other around, it’s more a mutual understanding of we all want the best for each other. We’re all pushing each other to do the best of our abilities and just cheering each other on to be our best.
MR: Because Archer is so small, we don’t have a JV team and a Varsity team. We have one Varsity team where we compete against everyone else’s Varsity team. So it’s really different because we have freshmen running on Varsity, mostly because they don’t have a choice. Even though we don’t have to try out for the spot on the team, we have to compete at a higher level always and it’s like that for a lot of Archer sports just because we’re so small.
What is the typical routine for practice?
RW: We start off with a mile off-campus warm up, just at talking pace. Then we come back and we do dynamic warm-up and then depending on the day, the dynamic warm up might become a strength practice. Then we either do an off-campus run of about three miles or a little more, just to Montana or Wilshire and back. Or we practice finishing and we do runs around the school. We might do a ladder of three times around the school, walk to a sign and back, two times around the school, one time around the school, two times, three times. And then we do a cool down. Sometimes we do another mile off-campus, or we just walk across the field and back. And stretch. Then we do our cheer and go home.
What are you doing as seniors of the team to help the team bond and work together?
RW: We had a sleepover a few weeks ago and we went bowling with Coach Mathis and Coach Riley, then we went to Rachel Pike’s [’17] house and we went swimming, had a sleepover and talked a lot. We fell asleep pretty early because we were all exhausted, but we’ve been spending a lot of time together in ways like that.
MR: Regarding logistics during practice, I’m one of the runners, it’ll be either me or Reanna, we stay in the back of the group when we go off-campus. Because it can be we just want to make sure everybody stays together. We want to make sure we don’t lose anybody, especially because we practice with our middle schoolers. So we’ll have Reanna and I in the back, and Ali Kiley [’16] and Leandra Ramlo [’16] will usually be in the front and the middle to make sure everybody’s okay. It’s just something seniors do to take responsibility to make sure that we’re all together. Sometimes if we’re running further off-campus, we’ll bring our phones.
But with regards to team bonding, we always love music on the bus. We had a team sleepover a little over a month ago. Rachel Pike hosted it at her house. We bowled and then we all carpooled over to Rachel’s house and there was a sleepover and we just started playing instruments and had a little jam session. Our dream cross country band started to form as a joke. It’s adorable. But recognizing everybody else’s talents is so important when it comes to team bonding so we like to highlight those.