CGHS Front Row: Crossing the Finish Line
Writer / Leigh Lawson
Center Grove High School has outstanding men’s and women’s cross country teams led by Coach Wes Dodson. These athletes work extremely hard, running many miles in training to deliver fast times for their team and school. Long-distance running is a sport that demands commitment and determination. It also takes passion. Like other high school sports, cross-country needs the support of the parents.
Coach Dodson greatly appreciates the parental support that he receives. “Parents are a huge part of what we do in Center Grove Cross Country. We couldn’t do it without them. They basically organize Cross Country Camp which is a three-day trip in a state park, provide snacks after meets, breakfast after morning runs, pictures of the kids and basically anything you ask for — they take care of. I have no idea what I would do without such a wonderful group of parents.”
Being a parent for cross country athletes requires a great level of commitment and time. It means that you are going to not only be there to give an encouraging send-off but also be the support along the course and the sound of cheering at the finish line. There is not a front row seat to claim as a spectator. Since the courses can range from 4,000 to 5,000 meters, parents need to be on the move to watch their runners compete.
It requires more from a parent than just coming to meets. Senior parent Lisa Kovacs shares her experience as a cross country mother. Her daughter, Alexa, is the second of her four children to be a Trojan cross country runner. Kovacs explains that parents assist with many of the preseason preparations including the training camp during the summer pre-season.
“For camp, the parents collect all the donated food, drive a large box truck to have at camp to store all the food away from the raccoons, cook and serve all the meals at camp and have water stations for each run during camp.” This summer, the teams went to Spring Mill State Park for their training camp.
According to Kovacs, the parents are involved in many other aspects as a way to help support the team. For such a demanding sport, the athletes need sustenance before and after training and competing. They provide breakfasts for before-school morning runs and snacks, Gatorade and water just beyond the finish line.
The parents participate in other ways like the telephone pole signs, spirit wear and team buttons — all to show support and pride in the teams.
When asked what she will miss most once her last runner graduates, Kovacs shares, “I absolutely love watching cross country. I will miss the parents and running around the course cheering on all the runners …. I’ve really enjoyed watching my daughter work hard to beat her time from the workout before or the race before and seeing the smile on her face when she accomplishes this. She loves to run, and I love watching her.”
Kovacs does have some advice for the incoming CGHS cross country parents. She advises parents to prepare for all weather conditions and to bring extra clothes and shoes in case of rain. Parents should wear running shoes as well, so they can run to the many points along the course to cheer.
On a serious note, Kovacs suggests being involved. CG cross country has great kids, coaches and parents.
Every group of supportive parents is unique, but the passion for their children’s endeavors is the same. The parents of CGHS cross country are a group in literal motion. The benefits are witnessing the personal achievements of the team.