What is Cross Country?

Click here to view a detailed explanation of the sport of cross country.

Why should I run cross country?
1.  It's FUN!!!!
2.  It teaches you discipline.
3.  It teaches you to set goals and work hard to achieve them.
4.  You get to be a valuable member of a team, no matter how fit or fast you are.
5.  You get to run through mud!
6.  You can measure success by competing against yourself instead of others.
7.  You get to find your limits, and then push past them!
8.  It will increase your fitness and endurance, perfect preparation for other sports!
9.  You get to compete in almost every meet, regardless of your skill-level.  There is no bench!
10.  Did I mention......It's FUN!!!!

I'm not fast.  Won't I just get discouraged if I join the team?
You don't need to be fast to join cross country!!!  Your coach and teammates will help you to improve your fitness and you can measure your success by how your race times improve over a season or from one year to the next.  Some of our most successful runners have never run in a varsity race, but they have made tremendous improvements over their careers and have accomplished great things!

What equipment do I need to join cross country?
You don't need a lot of expensive equipment to join the cross country team.  All you need is a good pair of running shoes, a watch, a pair of athletic shorts, a t-shirt, a water bottle, a swimsuit for pool workouts, a rain jacket or poncho, and some cold-weather clothing.

What type of running shoes should I purchase?
Every runner has different feet and you should buy a pair of shoes that works for your foot type.  Most running shoes fit into three categories: cushioned, motion control, and stability.  Click here to find out what type will probably work best for you.  Remember, the most expensive pair of running shoes you can find may not necessarily be the best for you!

What are the race distances?
Most high school races will be 3.1 miles (5,000 meters).

What is a typical race course like?
Cross country courses vary greatly.  Some courses will be hilly while other courses will be extremely flat.  Some courses are on golf courses while other courses are on trails and some courses are even on cow pastures!

What do the colored flags on a race course mean?
Red flags mean that the course turns to the left and runners must run on the outside of the flag.
Yellow flags mean that the course turns to the right and runners must run on the outside of the flag.
Blue flags mean that the course continues straight and runners may run on either side of the flag.

Is cross country an individual sport or a team sport?
It's both!  Everyone gets to compete in races as an individual and team scores are also tallied.

How many people from a team can compete in a meet?
Usually everyone on the team gets to compete at a meet.  At some meets, there will be one race for girls and one race for guys that everyone competes in.  At other meets, there will be varsity and JV races for guys and girls with unlimited entries in junior varsity races and seven competitors per team in varsity races.  The Sectional meet and State meet allow only 7 competitors per team.

How are races scored?
Cross country is a little different from other sports.  In cross country, the team with the lowest score wins.  Each runner that is on a team (at least five runners are needed to be considered a team) earns points based on finish position.  Runners who are not competing on a team still compete for individual honors, but don't count for team scoring purposes.  The runner in first place gets 1 point and the runner in second place gets 2 points and so on.  Team scores are determined by adding the scores of the top five finishers from each team.  The 6th and 7th runners from each team are called pushers.  Their scores don't count in the team score, but they can help to increase other team scores by finishing ahead of any of the top 5 runners from other teams.

How many meets are there in a season?
The WIAA allows 11 meets before the Sectional and State Meets.  We usually compete in 9 or 10 meets.

I heard that you guys run up to 10 miles for practice.  What if I am not able to run even 1 mile?
No problem!  Your coach will set up a training program suited to your needs and your ability level.  Some runners on the team will be running short distances while more experienced runners will be running farther.  Everyone on the team will be working hard to increase their ability levels.

I hear people talking about PRs.  What does PR mean?
A PR is a personal record.  We keep track of PRs to see progress and to give each runner something to shoot for.  It's a great feeling when you achieve a personal record!

How does a cross country runner earn all-conference honors?
All-conference honors are earned at the Conference Meet held toward the end of the season.  The top seven finishers in the Coulee Conference Meet earn 1st team all conference honors while runners 8-14 earn second team honors and runners 15-21 earn honorable mention.

How does a team qualify for the State Meet?
All teams in Wisconsin compete in sectional meets.  The top two teams from each sectional meet qualify for the State Meet.

How does an individual runner qualify for the State Meet?
The top five runners not on one of the top two teams from each sectional meet qualify for the State Meet.