By Madeleine Lee
With the end of the cross country season comes the bittersweet parting of the seniors from the team. Read about the leadership and encouragement that each senior has provided this season and why their coach considers them “the angels in the architecture.”
The state meet in Nashville on Nov. 4 marks the end of the cross country team’s successful season. In Nashville, St. Mary’s finished 11th overall in the state of Tennessee and 4th in its division. Now that the season has come to a close, the team is forced to say goodbye to its beloved seniors, who have shown outstanding leadership in every practice and meet. Fittingly so, the team and its coach, seventh grade English teacher Mrs. Zehring, are taking time to reflect upon the seniors’ leadership demonstrated this season.
This season and every season, running proves difficult if not paired with motivation and drive, Coach Zehring explains. For this reason, she says “it takes a lot of leadership to pull [the team] along,” but this year’s seniors did just that. Chloe Webster (9), says “Everyone looked up to [the seniors] and followed in their footsteps ...They would keep us motivated to keep running even when practices were hard, and they made practices more entertaining.”
Still, the seniors didn’t just shine on the course. Their commitment was demonstrated every step of the way to State. Coach Zehring says, “I would call them the angels in the architecture. They are the support, they make it look beautiful, and they bring grace and goodness to everybody else on the team.”
For many of the seniors, cross country has been a constant in their lives since Middle School. In fact, Coach Zehring says, “I started coaching many of them when they were in 6th grade, and when they moved to the Upper school, I made the graduation with them.” Through coaching them for so many years, Coach Zehring has witnessed first hand how much each girl has grown and improved since the early days of Cross Country. Each member has developed a different role and makes up a certain aspect of the team. She says, “they have grown in their roles as runners. They are all leaders in their own right.”
Most notable is the captain herself: Maryanna Couloubaritsis. “Captain Coulou is the backbone of our team,” Coach Zehring says. She once told Maryanna “I couldn’t do this without you,” and, as her team would attest, that is an understatement. Chloe says, “Maryanna was almost like a second coach. She would help us go through the course and always give us advice about how to run in certain places.” Maryanna has proven her work ethic and devotion to the team year after year, and as Coach Zehring says, “through sheer will, she has pushed herself to break P.R. after P.R., and because of that she [went] to state for the second time.”
In the same manner, every senior also pushed herself to be the best she can be this year, and, in turn, they all showed exceptional leadership and ensured a successful season for the entire team.