By Dennis Gega and Colin Shanley
Cross country is one of the lesser-known sports offered by WHS, it consists of long-distance running, which isn’t an activity the student body is fond of. Remember the mile you so dread running in PE? Well, the average cross-country race is three miles long. So, how can one prepare himself for such physical feats? Today we’ll interview Ryan Gagne and Jeffrey Sanborn to find out.
Ryan Gagne is the top runner in Wethersfield. He has been on the varsity lineup since his freshman year and has been the #1 runner since his junior year. He has gone all the way to compete in the New England championship and he is in the top 5 in the state of Connecticut for cross country. He works hard for what he has accomplished and lives a busy life.
Gagne starts his day getting ready for school and heads to his first class. He takes his academics very seriously and does well in all of his classes with mostly A’s. He then heads off to practice, where on a typical practice day, he will run 6-10 miles depending on the workout Coach Sanborn gives him and the rest of the team.
Like many runners of his caliber, Ryan takes recovery very seriously. He makes sure he stretches and rolls out his muscles for at least 30 minutes a day to ensure minimal soreness and maintains a healthy diet with his pre-prepared meals and homemade dinners made by his mom. He makes sure he gets the proper nutrients with every meal by eating fruits and vegetables and eating things with high levels of carbs and protein. He also makes sure he gets enough sleep every day, with around 6-8 hours of sleep each night and takes a nap in his time between school and practice.
With all of this in his life, he lives with a lot of weight on his shoulders. He has many goals that he has for himself that he needs to complete, along with the balance of school and his other extracurricular activities. He said, “There are times where I am really stressed out.” When asked how he overcomes this pressure, he states, “I just run. I feel fine after I run.”
Running is a big part of his life and will be in his future. It is his way of exercising, clearing his head, and life. This season, Ryan hopes to go back to the New England Championship for the 2nd year in a row and make a name for himself to colleges across the region.
Jeffrey Sanborn coaches cross country, indoor, and outdoor track at WHS. He’s a very experienced coach, having coached for more than 20 years, he also competed in cross country and track in high school and college.
His day begins at 4:30: he wakes up, has breakfast, and heads to Healthtrax, where he works as a manager. At noon, he heads home to have breakfast and rests until 2:30, which is when practice begins.
One of the most important factors in a cross country’s team success is the workout program. When asked about how he plans workouts for the team Sanborn replied by explaining how he has to plan for many skill levels as “The team is all over the place”. Some are brand new to running while others are more experienced and require more mileage.
Normal practices end at 5, while races end at 6:30. Sanborn then heads home and has some time to relax, cook himself some food, and sleep.
Back in his high school years, he remembers having a hectic schedule with not much time off. As his dedication to academics and sports filled up the majority of his schedule Sanborn says, “Sundays were my only day off.”
So why would you want your day to look like this? Sanborn calls cross country a “lifelong sport” that brings about many benefits, both mental and physical. Another quality of the cross country team is its low-stress environment. “It doesn’t matter if you come first or last,” he said, and that self-improvement is always going to be the goal.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.