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Bruins Cross Country competes in the first meet of season

Junior John Herrera participates in the Nevada Union High School Cross Country meet. Photo by Daniel Bussinger

The starting gun has fired to begin a Bruin Cross Country season unlike any other.

Bruin runners have been working hard with runs and workouts in preparation for a competitive season and for their first meet yesterday, Jan. 30, at NU.

A couple of Bear River Cross Country runners elaborated on the obvious difference between this year’s meet and previous ones.

“Our team [participated] in a Cross Country meet at NU [yesterday],” said Sophomore Elijah Funk. “[We were] issued guidelines to follow to help minimize close contact with others at the meet.”

“It [was] only with neighboring counties so there [were] less people,” Senior Sara Borchert said. “We [kept] the social distancing guidelines so when we [started] the race we [were] more spread out.”

Spanish Teacher Daniel Bussinger, who frequently helps out with the team, talked about the success of the first meet.

“It was a surprisingly good turnout for the first sports competition of any kind since March 2020,” he said. “Seven schools showed up, including our rival Colfax. Our top varsity runners passed people up to finish strong in the race. Mr. Savoie helped out at this meet by showing up at the last minute to be the coach of record. Eli Funk finished the race with a sub 21 minute time. Not bad for the first meet in nearly a year!”

As mentioned by Funk and Borchert, Nevada Union High School enforced a set of guidelines to ensure the safety and health of runners and spectators alike. Mr. Bussinger praised them for their organization and safety skills.

“Nevada Union High School did a great job organizing an event with appropriate social distancing,” he said. “Participants and spectators were very respectful about social distancing and wearing masks.”

Funk and Borchert gave insight into the details of training during COVID-19. 

“This season we have started practicing three times a week,” said Borchert. “We have been doing runs to help prepare us for any meets we might have.”

“We had been on and off practicing before the new semester,” Funk said. “But now we are conditioning three days a week.”

Mr. Bussinger added on to this, talking about the extra work some Bruins put in.

“We had summer practices that were a lot of long conditioning runs,” he said. “Once real practice started we did a lot of training on the bleachers, speed workouts, long runs and course runs. Some runners like Maya [Bussinger] and Eli played extra sports like soccer to stay in shape.”

Senior Sean Huska spoke about one of the difficulties of playing sports during COVID.

“[Our] team is far too small this year,” he said.

Funk expanded on this thought, further explaining why it is important to have enough runners. 

“[A] team needs five boys to qualify for placing and we have exactly five currently coming to practice. The girls team likewise is very small and has only three coming to practice. It would be really great if anyone wants to join the XC team.”

Mr. Bussinger added a final thought, shouting out Borchert for her perseverance.

“I am proud of Sara Borchert, a senior, for sticking with cross country for all four years,” he said.

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Bruins Cross Country competes in the first meet of season