“I can’t do this!”, said senior runner Kaden Olmstead as he progressed along the course of Freemont’s Hill and Bale 5k (3.1 mile) race. The scene was not one of photo finishes and intense athleticism. However, it was dramatic, and it was impressive. You see, Kaden was in dead last place, moving slowly and with effort. Each footstep eating only inches at a time away from the miles yet to go before he could finally celebrate and rest at the finish line. In response to Kaden’s discouragement, his mom, Heidi Olmstead, had slipped off her sandals so she could jog alongside Kaden and encourage him, saying, “Yes, you can do this! You got this!”
Teammates, including his sister, Marah (a runner on the girls team), and other family members, were also yelling encouragement, joined at times by runners from other teams and spectators as they recognized the difficulty Kaden was having.
Kaden wasn’t racing against other runners, he was only competing against himself, and slowly but surely he was going to win. One. Step. At. A. Time. All the while telling himself – don’t stop. Keep running. Just keep at it even though you want to quit.
With a burst of energy as he rounded the last corner before the finish line, and as crowds cheered him on, Kaden finished his race more than nine minutes behind the next fastest runner, and more than twice the time of most of the other racers. Yet it was still impressive to watch.
“I’m really proud of Kaden’s effort today. He didn’t give up. He didn’t quit, and he pushed through his wall and got a little better today.”, said Coach Cornaby.
The “wall” he was referring to is not a physical wall, even though there were plenty of hay-bale obstacles to challenge the runners, but it is the point in every race where you feel like quitting and giving up – the point where your body tells your brain that there’s nothing left to give. A point that Coach Cornaby is getting his student athletes to break through.
“Our team has been working on pushing back that wall, even shattering it. Our goals and potential are just on the other side. Only after we push through those difficult times and shatter our own walls and perceived limitations to do get to grasp what was once unreachable for us before.”, said Coach Cornaby.
“I’m grateful that Kaden has a chance to do something physically active.”, said Heidi, “This is really challenging for him, but it’s good at the same time.”
Cross Country meets have a unique feel to them. People are polite. Not just polite, but openly supportive of other teams and runners.
“I just love the Cross community, it’s so supportive,” said local running enthusiast, Joan Rolewicz from Whitehall. Joan has been following the sport for many years, showing up at races whether she knew someone that was running or not, just to cheer for whomever was there. This year, as a bonus, she has someone to cheer on – her grandson, Ben Cederquist on the Shelby Middle School team.
Will Kidder also put forth a great effort at the meet as he once again improved on his time, crossing the finish line in 34th place and a time of 21:42.2.
Ethan Sill improved his race time by more than four minutes from a few weeks ago, finishing 56th place and a time of 24:58.5
The three Varsity Boys runners are still looking to round out their team so that they can count their team points. If any boys are interested, please talk with any of the Shelby runners or show up to talk with the team any day at 4:00 outside the gym.
Scoring for Cross Country meets is kind of like golf â the lower the score the better. Teams get points for their place finishers, so a 1st place finish would get 1 point for the team, a 10th place would get 10 points, etc. There are usually 7 runners on a team, but only the top 5 finishers are counted toward the team points, meaning the cumulative point finishes are added up for the team score. If a team runs with fewer than 5 runners, then the team score is not counted in the final standings.
So, even though the Shelby Boys team hasn’t been able to score any team points this season, they are still an impressive group to watch.