Girls Cross Country Season Rundown


Kailin Bauman

Senior Magdelene Fincher focuses as she runs the cross country course.

The girls cross country varsity team placed in the top 10 at their NCC meet on October 4, 2021. In the lead for the Lady Berries varsity team was freshman Marbella Nievez, who placed 17th place and had a personal record of 22:19.

Head coach Kailin Bauman said that this is her first year coaching and that she’s been an assistant coach for the girls cross country team for three years. So, she’s trying to have a good season without the old coach.

“Our season started a little rocky; in addition to Coach Morrill finishing his coaching career with us, several of our varsity runners graduated. We immediately asked a lot of our team, and they stepped up to the challenge,” Bauman said.

COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on sports these past few years. It’s affected many players and sports teams in lots of ways.

Senior Jessica Mateo-Pascual and junior Gabbyryonna Richie run hard towards the finish line. ( Kailin Bauman)

“My concerns this season were regarding how COVID-19 would continue to affect us and if I would be able to fill Coach Morrill’s shoes,” Bauman said, “He was an incredible mentor to me with the way that he handled the program, and the team and I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to give the team the kind of coach they deserve.”

Coach Bauman elaborated on the difficulties COVID-19 has had on the team.

“It has made gathering a bit more difficult; we’ve dealt with a few quarantines and meets look different in terms of where we can gather, eat, etc. Ultimately though, we are lucky. Our sport is outside; so, we can distance, and we don’t share a common ball or closed space, so we are able to follow the COVID restrictions and advice relatively easily,” Bauman said, “This year is much better than last year. Last year, we had to limit the students we could take to meets; some meets were even outright canceled, and there were limits on spectators. We haven’t experienced that this year, thankfully.”

Bauman has been doing the best she can to help the girls have a good season.

“I am planning to continue to work together, push this team, and try to keep them healthy,” Bauman said, “I hope to see this team continue to find their confidence as runners and athletes. As they tackle tough workouts and races, I hope they see what assistant coach Scott Colford, and I see in each of them. They’re strong and capable of big things. I am just hoping each of them sees that and reaches their current racing potential.”

To finish the season strong with a positive mindset and attitude is what Bauman wants for the team.

“Running is such a mental sport; you have to show up at the starting line believing you’re going to give it everything you have. I believe if they show up knowing they’re capable, we will see great performances from the Lady Berries,” Bauman said.

Lady Berries girls cross country members hustle on the course. (Emily Gellinger)

To Nievez-Hernandez the finish line is where she’s determined to be.

“I feel really anxious but also optimistic because every single time, besides last week, I’ve gotten a PR (personal record), every single race, so it helps me stay hopeful for the finish line,” Nievez said.

The season has been filled with many challenges throughout most of the season, but she says it hasn’t even been related to running.

“Just trying to stay consistent with showing up to practices,” Nievez said.

Senior Maggie Fincher says the season has had a lot of difficulties within the team.

“There’ve been a lot of injuries this season, minor or having girls like not able to run,” Fincher said.

The Lady Berries cross country has put in a lot of work this season.

“We have a really young team this year, and they show a ton of potential; they remind me a lot of myself, three of them especially, because they’re taking advantage of the sport a little bit, and I learned my lesson the hard way after not being able to run,” Fincher said.

Fincher speaks on what cross country is for her.

“For me, cross country has always been about a race between me and my PR (my personal record). As long as I can get better than my personal record or close to my season-best or I know that I gave everything I had into a race, then it’s a win for me; it might not be for other schools who are bigger and have more participants,” Fincher said.