10.25.2019 - 4:42 PM - Hannah Raab​

For many student athletes, their senior season of high school sports is something special. Everything means a little extra because, no matter what happens, it’s the end of their high school sports career. For the last three years, they’ve taken for granted how much time they have left, and now it hits them fast, that it’s almost over. The season is full of many “lasts.” The last season opener, the last home meet, and the last time running with the people they’ve grown up with. These are the feelings and thoughts, quickly approaching Prentice senior cross country runner, Kaitlyn Erickson. 

“I love the team dynamic and the mental strength that cross country requires. It’s not only a physically tough sport, but it’s also a mentally tough one,” said Erickson. She has been running cross country since she first joined in sixth grade. She chose to join after the coach, Lisa Schantner, told her that she would make a good runner and because her best friend, Peyton Enders, was also going to be running.

Despite having some troubles with her iliotibial band this year, Kaitlyn and her team proved to have a successful season. For the first time in eight years, the girls’ cross country team won a meet. They took first place in the “Bear Invitational” at Stratford and second place at the “Auburndale Invitational.” She comments on the season saying, “Personally, I have done really well this season, and as a team we have done phenomenal. This season has been unlike any other.” The success the team has been having may stem from the strength of the team. Erickson said, “We have an amazing team dynamic with both girls and boys this year, unlike any other team in my six years of running.” An element that may contribute to the team dynamics, is the tradition of having a team dinner the night before the meet. Erickson said, “I love the team dinner! We always get such good food, and it’s so fun to spend time with my team and just chill and talk.”

This being her final season, Kaitlyn wanted to make it one to remember. Before the season began, she set the personal goals of placing in as many meets as possible and running a lifetime personal record. Now as the season is quickly approaching its end, Kailtyn has essentially met her goals. Erickson stated, “I’ve placed in almost all of the meets I’ve ran in and I was able to beat my lifetime PR by about two seconds this year.” As a team, they have the goal of making it to state. Erickson said, “We were seeded at the top of our sectionals for awhile, and now it’s between Phillips, Park Falls, and us to make it to state.” Making it to state as a team this year would be an ideal way for Kaitlyn to go out on top and finish her final season. Over her past seven years of being in cross country, Erickson has learned a lot, and made many memories along the way. She said one of the biggest lessons that she has learned from cross country is that, “I’m stronger than I think, and I can do whatever I set my mind to.” 

After four years, the time will come when the seniors will put on the uniform and spikes for the last time. It will be hard to say goodbye, to the sport and the past four years of hard work, dedication, and most of all fun. The final season of high school sports goes by fast. Enjoy every second because in the blink of an eye, it will all be over and all that will be left are the memories. Soon seniors will be crossing the finish line for the final time. But for them, “The finish line is only the beginning of a whole new race.” ~ Unknown.