Xavier Cross Country had another break-out season. Why does nobody seem to care?


By Aidan Higgins, Assistant Reporter

The term “the Big 4” refers to America’s 4 most popular sports: baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, all of which dominate
the media and have thousands of dedicated youth programs, a plentiful supply of diehard fans, and millions of TV viewers.  American society worships spectator sports like these, hence why the MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA are unparalleled to foreign leagues.

The Big 4 are broadcast all over the news, seeing as they cater to the preferences of the general public.  With limited attention spans running rampant in the minds of the laypeople, most refuse to watch anything that doesn’t show immediate results for the actions they witness.  Such sports are simple: somebody makes a good play, and points are gained.  Somebody makes a bad play, and their team doesn’t profit.  Due to the Big 4’s evident popularity, high school participants in each of these sports are showered with attention, popularity, and can double their luck with girls just by wearing their jerseys.

After years of constant exposure to the Big 4, I feel awkward reporting on another sport.  In our society, sports other than the Big 4 don’t get any attention from the media or their respective communities unless they force everybody’s hand by performing so well that nobody can help but to recognize their success.  Such is the case with Xavier’s Cross Country team, which performed so exceptionally in such incredible circumstances that I could not help but write an article on their achievements.

While scrolling through the Kestrel’s “Sports News” timeline, I failed to find a single article about Cross Country, but I cannot say that I am surprised.  Even though Cross Country is our school’s most successful sport – and a glance at the team’s championship banner in the gym will confirm that – the sad fact is, few people seem to really care.  You don’t receive an instant boost in popularity by joining the Cross Country team, and you don’t receive extra attention from girls by wearing your running shorts in public; to be blunt, people don’t like to watch other people run.  I would attribute this to multiple factors, the first of which is that runners are often not at war with an opposing team, but rather at war with their previous times.  In the words of varsity freshman Noah San Vicente, “As a runner, one of the best feelings you can feel is beating your own time after training so hard to see it decrease.”  A victory over one’s self is a victory that can be cherished by the victor, but usually not by the crowd.

The second factor that I recognize relates back to the instant satisfaction that the Big 4 provides to the general public.  In Cross Country, the results spectators see (a runner’s time/victory) is the effect of something that the spectators don’t witness: long periods of hard, grueling work trying to get an edge in a race.  Beyond the fact that there is no easy way to watch a runner’s complete race, running is, well, boring for most people.  Hard, grueling, boring work fails to spark interest in my mind, and I assume it has the same effect on the general population.  But to Noah, hard work is just another part of the sport.  “The hard work never ends,” he said.  “If you want to succeed, you need to get used to it.”

For Noah, the hard work definitely paid off.  He and fellow freshman Eamon Burke ran with varsity and helped their team make it to Northeast Regionals, where they will soon compete against the finest teams throughout the region.  After that, who knows?  Xavier might follow up on their success and make it all the way to Nike Cross Nationals.  As captain Ryan Grochowski put it, “The team is looking well heading into remainder of the postseason and I believe we have a great chance at winning New Englands and heading to nationals again this year, we just need to stay humble, have faith in our training, and do what we know we can do.”

Though Cross Country doesn’t belong to the Big 4 and probably doesn’t receive the respect and attention it deserves, the team’s shocking lack of recognition doesn’t alter the impressiveness of their success and will not prevent me from blazoning the hard work that allowed them to succeed.  The team, captained by Dillon Selfors, Ryan Grochowski, and William Curran, finished 3rd in New Englands and is competing in Northeast Regionals on November 24, where they hope to place high enough to move onto Nike Cross Nationals.