Letter from the locker room: Cross country

Oak Park cross country captain

Dear Birdcage, my name is Hayden Brown and I am the new Oak Park cross country captain.

Under the current circumstances, many kids do not have an outlet for continuing their sports training. However, the Oak Park cross country team is determined to stay in shape for the season this winter.

When the stay-at-home orders for California were imposed in the middle of March, many questions were raised as to whether or not cross country (and all other sports) would still practice over the summer. Through a lot of discussion, the junior and senior boys including myself banded together to set up a socially distant running group.

While not everyone could practice together, there were smaller groups of around 8 boys all eager to participate in runs and other activities. As the season drew closer and closer, it became more apparent that we may still have a chance to run together as a team.

After roughly a week and a half of coach led practices, the state of California issued restrictions for high school sports that left us back to square one. Once again, we were setting up practices and running but this time without the fall season on the horizon. 

As the school year started, communication between the coaches and the senior boys cleared up so that we could start training a bit harder than we were before. Now, I can officially report that we have 4 wonderful captains who are all willing to coach practices for the time being. Those captains are seniors Ryan England, Wyatt Tack and myself, along with junior captain Jack Gilbert. The outlook for the rest of the season is looking bright despite the current situation.

Together, we coordinate runs and select locations in the Oak Park area where we can run. We have taken the necessary precautions to make sure that each athlete is safe and socially distant during practices and hope to see our coach become involved as we move further into the school year.

It is important that during these times we stay active and healthy. Oak Park cross country wants to make sure this outlet is available to anyone who wants to safely attend. Our goal is to have a fantastic season next January and to run throughout the fall and winter. We are very proud to be keeping the spirit of cross country alive during these times of uncertainty.

I am very excited to see some new faces when the season officially starts back up and I hope good fortune comes to the future of Oak Park sports.

-Hayden Brown, senior cross country captain