Running with GodSpeed
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Deidra Bowling-Meade The Ashland Beacon The Holy Family School Cross Country Team is taking the area by storm with this year’s team. In the Boyd County Early Cross Country Showcase held in August, Holy Family School faced 25 schools and more than 400 runners in the field. The Holy Family Girls Elementary Team got first place with a time split of 1:03 1-5 split and an average of 11.17. To qualify for a team trophy, schools must have five or more runners in a division. The girls’ team for this race included: Akachi Udeagwu, Allison Peacock, Allie Pinkston, Sadie Wheeler and Vivianne Miller. In the Boys Middle School Division, the Irish also ran with Godspeed. Seventh grader Gus Listerman placed third in the Boys 2000 meter with a time of 10:01.00, and seventh grader Andy Listerman placed sixth with a time of 10:09.00. Jennifer Darnell is the coach of this outstanding young team, who started running two years ago. Darnell is impressed with the team’s mental toughness and camaraderie. Darnell stated: “They encouraged each other to keep going when it was tough and they wanted to walk. Between this year and last, they continued to run. Now they’re concerned with completing a timed mile in fewer seconds every time we practice. They work hard as a team during each race, knowing that together as a group, we have the tools to win for our school! We’re seeing our kids finish with individual awards because they’ve worked hard to shave seconds off of yesterday’s run. You can palpably watch their mental toughness develop and strengthen. That’s the gold trophy for me! They’re learning a skill that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. No matter what life hands them as adults, they’ll always have a pair of running shoes and the road.” There’s no doubt that all the children who are participating in Holy Family’s Cross Country Team have a genuine excitement and passion for running and growing as a team. Somtochi Udeagwu who is a runner in fifth grade at Holy Family shared, “There are a lot of new kids on the team that are very good at pacing and running. Some goals that I've set are to beat my little sister that's very fast. I enjoy running because I love having fun outside and my friends and I really enjoy it. I enjoy seeing how we've improved in our running.” When asked what the future holds for cross country at Holy Family, Udeagwu’s replied, “I think we're gonna bring home that trophy.” Abigail Young, a sixth grader at Holy Family, was all smiles when asked her about the Irish’s success against the surrounding schools. “It’s a big deal! We have gotten a lot better and are a close team. No one brags. The middle schoolers cheer for the elementary, and the elementary cheer for the middle schoolers,” said Young. Young is encouraged having Coach Darnell leading the team. Young says of Coach Darnell, “She’s nice, encouraging and helps you keep going.” Young has already set a goal to run a mile in eight minutes. With the Irish’s perseverance this season, other runners better watch out! Holy Family’s Cross Country Team is bringing new recognition to the school’s athletic program. Principal Eric Boos says, "Holy Family has a proud athletic tradition. In recent years, our community has rallied to provide more and more athletic opportunities for students. Coach Darnell has done an exceptional job leading Irish Cross Country. That's evident from our team's recent success. I'm thankful for all she does for the students of Holy Family. Our school is hungry for athletic growth. I am committed to it. Our parents are committed to it. We have so many opportunities for growth. Holy Family is already an environment of academic excellence. Athletic excellence is next." It seems that no hindrances will stand in the way of Holy Family’s Cross Country Team. They are living out the scripture of Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Through hard-work, dedication and encouraging one another, the Irish are ready to run.