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Teammates Provide Competition and Camaraderie

People unfamiliar with cross-country may think it is strictly an individual sport, but a lot depends on teamwork. Though runners often race individually, the team scores points collectively, so it is important that everyone is running strong.

As a senior, Samantha Nizich ran cross-country at Central Catholic High School (Portland, Oregon) this year, and she is happy to encourage other potential runners, just as her role models encouraged her.

Motivation to Push Through

“It is not only at races that cross-country is a team sport but at practice too. It is sometimes hard to find motivation to get through workouts, but having teammates to push you makes it manageable and fun!”

Samantha credits Julia Green, her former “runner bud” and current Santa Clara University cross-country team member, with showing her how to be a successful team leader and determined runner, as well as a dedicated student.

“I have been lucky enough to have the best role model show me the way for my first three years of high school. Julia was always the one inviting me to join her on long runs or yelling at me to stick with her during a hard workout. Her drive has made me want to achieve more and be the best I can possibly be.”

This camaraderie extends to the larger team too. Her teammates are her favorite people and best friends, and there is no separation based on age or even skill.

Challenge Yourself and Your Team

After her experience at CCHS, she has some clear advice for beginners.

“Put on those Nikes and get goin’! My advice for new runners is to not be afraid to challenge yourself and others on the team by running up with them. Holding back not only hurts you and your times, but it does not force the experienced runners to fight for their spot. Also, try different race strategies. Get out faster one race and start conservative the next; this is the only way to figure out what works best for you.”

Although sports take up time, Samantha says she wouldn’t trade running for sleep, because she feels more focused after a good workout and even has time to think of essay topics for schoolwork while running! Aiming high pays off in more ways than one.       

Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud sponsor of the Oregon School Activities Association.

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