Annual Turkey Trot recap

Yejin Heo, Staff Writer

The Northwood Cross Country team participated in the annual Orange County Turkey Trot on Nov. 28 at Hicks Canyon Park, allowing them to compete in an organized race since  March 2020 while also reconnecting with Northwood alumni from all walks of life.

The event served as a much needed bonding experience for the current Northwood team, alumni and Head Coach Louie Muniz, especially due to the lack of the annual summer technical camps for the athletes.

“My favorite part was getting to see all the alumni and getting to spend that morning with my teammates,” junior Sheinne Laygo said. “It honestly puts me in the holiday spirit, especially with the Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks rolling around, and helps me appreciate my team and recognize how thankful I am for them.”

Before running the seven-mile distance race, the team’s practice schedule consisted of timed miles at the track, recovery runs and conditioning at Hicks Canyon Park, Peters Canyon and Northwood’s track. The strenous conditioning that seems to accompany the various terrains the team practices on, intends to provide all the runners the tools to do their best on any course they encounter in all league competitions. After all, as the saying goes, perfect practice makes perfect.

“The day before the run, we did a really hard speed workout consisting of three mile repeats and three cool down miles,” senior Vlady Clodfelter said. “We talked about running on the collegiate level and how different it is from running in high school, such as the intensity and commitment that each level demands from its athletes.”

The Dana Point Turkey Trot is an Orange County tradition that has brought runners and family members together on Thanksgiving morning for 43 years. Named as one of America’s best trots, the Turkey Trot brings people from skill levels, ranging from beginner to expert, in an effort to burn the pre-Thanksgiving meal calories. The cross country team organized their own race instead of attending the usual county gathering, one of their many modifications to prioritize the safety of the runners.

While running, the team and cross country alumni discussed how the pandemic has affected them as students and athletes alike. The COVID-19 crisis has halted all community running events and practices for months, but the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the governing body for high school sports in the state of California, has recently allowed for the boys and girls cross country sectional playoffs to resume.        It has become more important than ever for athletes to be staying in shape during the quarantine, both mentally and physically, in preperation for the potential season slated to continue in late December 2020. If everything goes as planned, selected teams will also be eligible to compete for CIF State or Regional championships, which are scheduled to conclude on March 27, 2021, marking the end to this year’s shortened season.

The Northwood Cross Country team continues to practice each and every day in preparation for their first official meet which is scheduled for  Dec. 30 at William R. Mason Regional Park.