Men’s Cross Country persevering drive for the spring season finish line

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San Diego Mesa Cross Country

Men’s Cross Country winning last years state track meet.

Kyle Ayson, Staff Writer

With COVID-19 halting their season, the San Diego Mesa College Men’s Cross-Country team has been working hard, staying fit, and being mentally prepared and ready for competition when it arrives in the spring.

Men’s Cross-Country Head coach Sean Ricketts explained, “In the spring, we are allowed to compete in 6 meets, including conference, plus the Southern California Regional Championships.” 

With a few meets planned, Ricketts noted the impediment that came along. “The biggest obstacle for cross country meets to take place is securing venues which is challenging since a lot of parks and recreational areas are not taking reservations for events due to the pandemic,” he said.  Ricketts added “This includes testing our student athletes for COVID 19 before competitions and team travel.” 

The Men’s Cross Country team also won the state championship last year, “our team was poised at making a run to defend their state title” Ricketts said. 

But as the team undergoes these hardships, they are also “optimistic and hope that things improve and it is safe for our student athletes to get back to meeting and training to prepare for the season” said Ricketts. 

Ricketts also mentioned that with a “strong group of returners and a talented recruiting class,” their main goal has been unchanged since the Fall season and the rest of the year, “our student athletes continue to make progress and do well academically while working through the challenges of the pandemic and virtual learning.”

Esteban Magana, a member of the state championship team, gave his perspective of the season. “My cross-country season has been better than expected, despite the hard times we’ve faced through quarantine, my team and I have been successful in executing our training perfectly. We have regular zoom meetings with the coaches during each week, we’ve been safe, stronger and united as a team. This motivates us every day to stay hungry and ready for competition when we come back!”

“The cons of the situation is that we haven’t gotten to fully meet the whole team and it’s hard to keep those new recruits motivated. The pro would be that we can dedicate more time to our training. I think in these times we have finally learned to appreciate everything we have in our lives and stay healthy overall,” Magana added. 

His teammate Zack Beckwith noted, “Everything is going really well right now because we still meet and do what we need to do to get it done. And it makes it a lot more fun when you run with people that you can connect with.” Beckwith also shared that the runs help them train for the season. He said, “We have been doing our normal training as if we were going to race. We have our long run at the beginning of the week and then two workouts during the week. The rest of our runs are just normal fitness runs that are a little shorter and allow us to stay in shape.”

Ricketts said, “Our student athletes have done an amazing job adapting to virtual learning and training and pushing through the challenges of the pandemic in order to make progress.  They are putting in a lot of great work. They are anxiously awaiting to continue the legacy and tradition of Mesa Cross-Country, as well as the track and field programs.”