Increase in Runners is Changing the Game for Cross Country


Photo by: Raegan Calvo

While the Potomac Falls cross country team has been of substantial size in previous years, this year the sport has its largest number of runners in PFHS history.

Of all the different sports teams at Potomac Falls, Cross Country is taking its place on top with the largest number of athletes. Beginning the season with 105 members, previous XC athletes are seeing many new faces on the scene with an enthusiasm for running that surpasses the amount in previous years. However, there are many changes that stem from having a team so large. 

Having such a large team brings up the question: how does having such a sizable team influence XC in comparison to previous years?

“The amount of runners on the team this year has positively impacted team spirit,” said senior Captain Caroline Sagen. “Everyone is super supportive, especially on hard runs and workouts.”

Even though cross country runners are excited for this newfound interest in the sport, having such a large team presents its own set of challenges. The head cross country coach, Tom Kalka, explains how communication is important in order to keep everyone on task. 

“I’ve been using different technologies to communicate with everyone, which, knowing teens these days, makes it much easier to communicate,” said Kalka. 

Kalka describes how the team splits up into different groups based on running capability, each led by a different coach, in order to ensure that students are motivated to do their best.

With so many new members, the team can see a lot of new potential. For the boys, half of the top ten runners on the team are new to the sport.

“We also gained a fast freshman [in Riona McDonough] that will help us for a great deal of years to come,” said Kalka. 

McDonough is a freshman who is new to PFHS cross country. She participated on the cross country team at her previous school in Colorado and quickly made an impression on the team by getting first place on the time trial, with a time of 22:29. 

“I think cross country is really fun so far; it’s a good community to be in,” said McDonough. “I can’t wait for the races to start.”

With all these new promising runners, the team has high hopes for the upcoming season. Their first race is the Algonkian Cup on Sept. 14 at Algonkian park, where they will be racing against Parkview and Dominion high schools.