Running Towards Home

More than a sport, Cross Country serves many Saints as a second family.


Senior Taylor Yeater smiles after completing EKL last year, 2021.

Cross country has always been a beloved sport here at Aquinas, with teams exceeding 100 members each year. This exciting sport is highly inclusive (no cuts!) and popular among all students of STA. But what exactly makes cross country so special? We all know members run at meets to increase speed, agility, and strength, but is there something more there? Many cross country members, including their beloved coach Justin Wrigley, argue that there is. 

Coach Wrigley has been coaching cross country for 22 years, 17 of which he has been the head coach. He focuses each practice around training for meets by having them warm-up, run, do speed drills, cool down, and stretch. This rigorous training keeps each runner sharp and on top of their game for meets. When asked his favorite part about coaching, Wrigley’s answer was clear: the kids. “Our teams may be trying to beat each other, but there is very much a collaborative spirit in our sport. Coaches spend time together talking about ways to make kids better runners, and we all gain ideas and motivation from each other.” 

Each sport at Aquinas prides themselves on how unique and special the bond that they create with each other is, and cross country having so many members only adds to the connections. “Cross country is my second family,” Senior Quinn Babcock says, “I always know I can count on them whenever I need anything.” Many other members feel this way. The team practices every day, giving them many opportunities to connect with one another and grow closer with students outside of their graduating class. “I love chatting on my runs with my friends,” Babcock shares. “It always gives me a chance to catch up with everyone and feel close to my community.”

Cross country is for everyone! If you are looking for a sport to participate in next fall, consider cross country. “It is going to be hard, but it will be incredibly rewarding, and you will make the best friends you could ever imagine,” Wrigley says. You don’t have to be the fastest runner at school, you just have to be committed. Cross country gets you in shape and puts you out there in your community. “You will find out you are capable of more than you ever imagined, and that doing something tough with the other people will bring out the best in everyone involved.”