Change Isn’t Always Bad

A new coaching staff brings fresh changes to the girls cross country team.

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Change Isn’t Always Bad

Abigail Jensen is striking a pose while running in the 5k race at Walnut Creek on August 31st.

Abigail Jensen is striking a pose while running in the 5k race at Walnut Creek on August 31st.

Abigail Jensen is striking a pose while running in the 5k race at Walnut Creek on August 31st.

Abigail Jensen is striking a pose while running in the 5k race at Walnut Creek on August 31st.

Reilly Healey, Staff Writer

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Cross country is a sport meant for people who can handle getting pushed passed their comfort zones every step along the way. It is meant for people who can handle the drudgery, but also the rewarding aspects that come with it. It is made for determined, strong-willed, and competitive people. If someone is going to coach cross country, they should possess these elements as well. Luckily the new head coach of girls cross country fits well into the criteria.

Mr. Shawn Gray, who teaches science at PLHS, had been the assistant girls’ cross country coach for the Monarchs for four years and had been coaching for 12 years overall. When Ms. Carly Sire, the former head coach, took the opportunity to teach at Lincoln Southwest, a whole new door was opened for Gray. Starting the 2019 season, he will be the brand-new head coach for the girls’ team.

With new set of coaches, including Ms. Abigail Hunke as assistant coach, comes a new persona to the team. For the seniors, it’s even more of a ratifying change due to them being coached by Sire their entire high school career up to this point. Senior captain, Renee Thompson, has been with the team since her freshman year and has noticed the difference, but feels optimistic about the unity under the new staff.

“It feels pretty good, it brings in a new element to the team,” Thompson said. “It definitely improves how we work together.”

The upperclassmen are adjusting to their second head coach while the freshmen have nothing to compare the high school coaching style to. But regardless, the freshmen are appreciating their first high school sport season with the support of the new coaches.

“Gray as a coach is good because I feel like you can talk to him when you need to,” freshman Grace Colbert said. “He is always up to give you good options and advice.”

With all the runners dealing with the shift in the staff and appreciating the changes, the coach himself must deal with the difference in his day-to-day routine.

“There are a lot more responsibilities of being a head coach,” Gray said. “The head coach has to determine the direction and vision of the team, whereas assistant coach supports those goals. You also have to deal with meet entry and organizing parent meetings.”

With being promoted, it comes with a lot of new obstacles along the way that you must tackle, like ‘taking a group of individuals and making them into a team’. But once you pass those obstacles, what’s on the other side is very fulfilling.

“The part I have enjoyed the most is talking to the girls about their goals and helping them work towards them,” Gray said.

Cross country is a journey meant for people who can push themselves to becoming better each race. Gray has the experience and fortitude to make the runners successful, not only on the course, but in life.

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