To New Lengths

The story behind the style.


Abigail Jensen

Junior Sam Cahill runs at a Lincoln meet.

Sarah Altman , Sports Editor

He comes from a family of cross-country savants, all gifted with the grit of Mo Farah and an aptitude for aerobic respiration. His hair whips in the bitter autumn air as he plows forward, determined to overtake the nearest competitor with an extended stride at the finish line. His siblings have run on these beaten paths before him and will continue to do so after he is gone. He is Sam Cahill, and this year, he has a new addition: an extra 6 inches of hair. 

His luscious brown and gold locks fall over his shoulder in the hall and attract the eye of many a passerby. 

“When I first started growing it out, it hit an awkward stage,” Cahill said. “People told me to cut it off at first, but most people like it now.”  

What you can’t see as you pass him, however, is the meaning behind his new hairdo.  

“I started growing it out because my brother went into the Navy, and he can’t grow his hair out,” Cahill said. “I wanted to grow mine out to show respect to him, and to show respect for the sacrifice he is making for our country.”  

This act of respect, while originally unrelated to running cross-country, inevitably affects him as he races at each meet.  

Think of it like this: PLHS’s swimmer wear caps in the pool. Besides the obvious reasons for wearing a cap, such as protecting hair from repetitive exposure to chlorine, the cap also helps to reduce drag as they slice through the water.  

Although the medium is different, cutting off his hair may help Cahill to speed through the air as he runs.  

“When I do eventually cut it off, I think it will help a little bit,” Cahill said.  

While the chop might affect Cahill, it will have a greater impact on those around him.  

“When it gets long enough, I’ll donate it to Locks of Love,” Cahill said. “I will probably cut it off after graduation.”  

As a junior, Cahill has plenty of time before graduation to focus on his cross country running and hone his skill.   

“If I’m being honest, I’ve hit a wall,” Cahill said. “This season, I just want to get past this phase and fix the problems I face while running.”  

Although running presents challenges to Cahill, you’d be hard pressed to get him to stop. 

“To me, running means everything,” Cahill said. “It’s an important part of my life and being on the team has been a huge component of everything that I do.”  

Whatever he does for the rest of the season, we can rest assured that he will do it with a great head of hair.