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All About Cross Country

If you want to know more about Olathe North Cross Country, you've come to the right place.  Check out the answers to some of the frequently asked questions below.  If you have a question that is not on here, please email Coach Huseman (lhusemanon@olatheschools.org) and ask!

Frequently Asked Questions...
  1. What is Cross Country?
  2. I've heard all you do in Cross Country is run. Is that true?
  3. But I've never run before...
  4. How much do I have to run every day?
  5. What running gear do I need?
  6. But I don't know anyone on the team...
  7. How long does practice last?
  8. When and where is summer conditioning?  Do I have to go to summer conditioning?
  9. What are the meets like?
  10. When does the season start/end?
  11. Are there cuts? JV? C-Team?
  12. What are some of the best things about Cross Country?
  13. I'm a sprinter. Won't I get killed running Cross Country?
  14. I just want to use Cross Country to get in shape for (basketball, baseball, swimming, ______), is that okay?
  15. What happens if I have to walk?
  16. What will I get out of Cross Country?
  17. Who are the coaches, and are they cool?

  1. What is Cross Country?
    Cross country is the sport of distance running. Cross country races are run over varying terrain, usually on parks or golf courses. In Kansas,both girls and boys race 5 km (3.1 miles)  It takes boys anywhere from 15-30 minutes to finish this distance. Most events feature varsity races, (usually the top 7 runners from each team), junior varsity races (the next 7 boys/girls), and C Team Races (everyone else).  One of the great things about this sport is that everyone gets to participate in the races. As long as you follow all of the team rules, there are no cuts! Cross country combines the best features of team and individual sports. Cross country is a team sport, but every runner has their own individual goals. Times are less important in cross country than in track, because every course is different. Everyone can (and should) be proud of a solid effort, regardless of their finishing time.

  2. I've heard all you do in Cross Country is run. Is that true?
    While it is true that much of our sport depends on running, we only spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes running each day. The rest of the practice time is spent on things such as: team talks, stretching, weights, team building activities, and of course socializing. We will work plenty hard, and a lot is expected of each athlete, but we don’t forget to have fun either.

  3. But I've never run before...
    Great! We are excited that you are willing to try something new. This just might end up being your sport! Since we allow you to progress at your own speed, your previous experience or lack of experience is not important. What is important is your desire to become a runner and be part of a truly unique sport! 

  4. How much do I have to run every day?
    Beginners start with easy running. For example, the first day you might run for 15 minutes. Runners are encouraged to run at a talking pace, meaning they can carry on a conversation with their running partners. Over time, you will feel comfortable running a little bit farther. By the end of the season, you will have built up to running comfortably for an hour.  Some of our more experienced runners can run as far as 14 miles.  It all depends on you and where you are at! 

  5. What running gear do I need?
    The bare essentials: shoes, socks, shorts, t-shirts.  Other things that might come in handy include a watch, a water bottle, cold weather running gear (long sleeved shirts, gloves, hats, running tights, etc.)  A good pair of RUNNING shoes is ESSENTIAL.  This is the most important thing you will have for your season.  It is generally best to go to a store that specializes in running to make sure you get the correct pair of shoes for your feet.  They do not have to be expensive, they just have to fit and feel right.  There is no best brand, but often there is a brand that is best for you.  A good pair of shoes will last you up to 400 miles.  If your feet or legs start to hurt, this is a good sign that you need new shoes.  Having the right pair of shoes is key to injury prevention.  

  6. But I don't know anyone on the team...
    Cross Country is an awesome place to make new friends!  Especially if you run with us over the summer, you will start the school year with a huge group of people you already know!  We are a big family that takes care of each other, and you'll know lots of different people from every grade.  

  7. How long does practice last?
    Summer conditioning runs from 6:30 until 8:00 or 8:30, depending on the day and how far we run.  Practice during the season starts immediately after school at 3:15 and goes until 5:30 or 6, again depending on the day's practice.  We practice EVERY DAY, rain or shine!  Practice is never cancelled for any reason.  

  8. When and where is summer conditioning?  Do I have to go to summer conditioning?
    Summer conditioning happens six days a week, but it's okay if you can't come every single day.  On Mondays through Fridays, we meet at 6:30 am to beat the heat. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we meet at Olathe North, on the west side of the building by the triple doors.  On Tuesdays, we meet at Lone Elm Park, at the shelter off of 167th street (closest to Lone Elm Rd).  On Thursdays, we meet at Lake Olathe, at Beaver Shelter (click the link for a map).  Saturdays are different every week, because we have BREAKFAST RUNS!  We will meet at a park or someone's house; run, then eat breakfast.  On Saturdays, we meet at little later at 8 am.  If it is lightning and storming, you are still encouraged to run on your own once the weather breaks, but we won't be meeting as a group. Summer conditioning is not required, but it will help you have a successful season and make you stronger.  Summer conditioning is also a lot of fun and a great way to meet your teammates and become a part of our family.  

  9. What are the meets like?
    Cross country meets are really fun! Meets are usually on Saturday mornings, but can sometimes be on weekday afternoons.  There are two varsity races (one boys, one girls), two JV races, and sometimes two C team races.  Meets usually last 2-3 hours, but we get there a few hours early, which often means an early report time on Saturdays.  Races start with everybody all lined up together, and everyone takes off at the gun.  Courses are NOT paved--they are usually on grass or gravel or wood chips--anything other than roads!  There are always lots of fans and supporters, and we all get to cheer our teammates on when we are not running.  Cross country is one of the most positive and encouraging environments in high school sports.  

  10. When does the season start/end?
    While summer conditioning starts June 13, the official season starts on August 15, the Monday before school starts.  We practice EVERY DAY, rain or shine!  Practice is never cancelled for any reason!  The season ends for JV & C runners with their last meet on October 15.  Varsity runners will continue with their season through October 29 with the state championships, and then on through the middle of November to run in a national meet.  

  11. Are there cuts?  JV?  C-Team?
    As long as you can follow rules and meet team expectations, there are no cuts.  The team is divided up into Varsity and JV teams, with JV sometimes being split into a C-Team, depending on the race.  Every team practices together and competes together, and the teams are fluid.  Varsity changes each week--just because you start on one team does not mean you stay there all season long.  We think one of the best things about Cross Country is that everyone trains and competes together and supports our family dynamic.  

  12. What are some of the best things about Cross Country?
    Where do we begin?!?!?!?!? Probably......PASTA DINNERS.  This is probably the only real reason you should run Cross Country.  Okay, we're kidding about that (sort of).  We have pasta dinners all the time (usually before every meet), where we get together and, you guessed it, eat pasta.  After we eat, everyone hangs out and has a good time because we are a family, and families do cool stuff together (like eat pasta and hang out).  We also have a campout at the beginning of the season, where we get dropped off at our course, and hang out all night playing games, grilling, and having a lot of fun.  The next morning, we run back into town and eat breakfast.  We also have several fun runs that involve team competition and running all over Olathe doing crazy stuff.  Some days for workouts, we go to parks, we go to the pool, or we run on trails all over the city.  In addition to all of this, we build strong friendships that last your entire high school career (and beyond).  

  13. I'm a sprinter. Won't I get killed running Cross Country?
    There are two types of distance runners: those with great speed and those with great endurance.  These two types of runners exist at the high school level; collegiate level; and into the elite level.  Although different race strategies suit each type of athlete differently, both have been proven to have great success in cross country running.  Cross country is a sport that makes you a better athlete regardless of how fast you are.

  14. I just want to use Cross Country to get in shape for (basketball, baseball, swimming, ______), is that okay?
    YES!  We have many runners who use Cross Country as conditioning for other sports and do it effectively.  In fact, some of our best runners came to us for this reason, and found that while their main sport is something else, they really enjoy Cross Country and have fun.  You can even participate in other club sports outside of Cross Country while running with us, we only ask that you do so outside of practice/meet times (after 6 pm on weekdays and not on Saturday mornings).  

  15. What happens if I have to walk?
    Beginners start with easy jogging.  For example, the first day you might jog 15 minutes.  We will gradually work you up to a point where you can run continuously for your race distance.  By the end of the season, you will feel comfortable running farther and farther.  We hope you never have to walk!  

  16. What will I get out of Cross Country?
    That all depends on you!  We promise you will get tired and sweaty.  You will probably also get sore muscles and blisters.  You will also get stronger, take away life long memories, make a ton of friends, push yourself to levels you didn't think were possible.  You'll gain self-confidence, physical fitness, self-discipline, good friends, and have lots of fun.  The time you spend with your training partners builds a camaraderie that is hard to find anywhere else.   

  17. Who are the coaches, and are they cool?
    Our assistant coaches are really cool.  
Coach Kim Dicus runs to keep her sanity and stay balanced.  She has an opinion on everything (except Harry Potter).  She teaches math at Olathe North and 5-year olds in Sunday school on the weekends. Coach Dicus loves eating Z-Man sandwiches from Joe's Kansas City and traveling all over the country.  Ask her to tell you fun facts about the presidents.  Coach Dicus has been coaching Cross Country for more than 10 years at ON! Coach Dicus likes running half-marathons but her favorite distance is the 10k.  Hospital Hill is her favorite local race!  

Coach Jeff Swift is an Olathe North graduate and Cross Country alum.  He has coached at Olathe North for 20+ years!!  Coach Swift is a Disney expert, master animator and illustrator, t-shirt designer, and all-around awesome guy.  Coach Swift has run countless marathons, half-marathons, and even a few ultra-marathons.  One of his favorites includes the Goofy Challenge (the Disney World half marathon one day, then full marathon the next).  Ask to see some of his marathon medals!

Coach Jared Wisner ran track and Cross Country at Olathe East but looks much better in red & blue.  He decided not to run in college and instead chose to focus on school (something he says he regrets).  He got his Dr. of Chiropractor degree, and owns his own Chiropractic office right here in Olathe.  He loves focusing on athletes and keeping them playing & running as long as possible.  Coach Wisner continues to run himself and has completed races of all distances.  He is looking forward to doing a few Ironman races when he can find the time to train between spending time with his wife and children. 

Our head coach....me....really isn't all that cool... 
My name is Levi Huseman and this will be my 7th season as head coach at Olathe North.  I ran Cross Country and track in high school, and was lucky enough to run at the University of Kansas, where I competed in the mile, 3k, 5k and Cross Country.  I'm still an avid runner, and try to compete in a few races each year, although I'm afraid to say I'm not as fast as I used to be.  Some of my favorite races include the Boston Marathon and the Trolley Run right here in KC.  I teach Physical Science and Physics here at Olathe North.  My wife Mallory teaches and is the head Cross Country coach at Blue Valley West.  We have a one son named Rory and you will see him often at practices and meets! Our family clearly loves running since we spend all our free time at cross country and track meets (or racing ourselves). 

We promote running for health and fitness and think every runner, regardless of ability, has a place on this team.  We will coach you to the level you want to achieve, whether that is being a state champion, or just getting in shape for another sport.  We have athletes in each of these categories, and everywhere in between.  
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