Leesville Road Cross Country Team
Our team includes boys and girls who work together, train together, and support each other to be the best that we can be as athletes, teammates, students, coaches, and members of the community. This is wired into the team culture, and members of the team strive for excellence through this.

What is Cross Country?
A lot of running… and we don’t expect beginners to love running, and we expect the development to take a very long time (including the gradual increase in “length of a run”, including “long runs” and “easy runs”and related pacing). It is the “running with others” that feeds the team culture and the desire to run — this sport is very social. The sport is built on adaptation and growth, both physical and mental, and the team environment provides more hours of social interaction than any other sport. The social interaction offsets the discomfort of development and adaptation. We train in almost all weather conditions — while athletes will have a preference for “good weather”, they develop mental strength to operate at high performance in any weather. This sport is a lifelong game changer for people.

Cross Country as a Sport
The sport of high school Cross Country (commonly designated as XC) is a competitive team sport offered in the fall (August-November) for students in grades 9 through 12.  Training and optional group runs occur during June and July.  We practice and train on a variety of running surfaces. We race mostly 5km races on uneven ground in most weather conditions; in early season, we may race one or two 3km races. We do not have a clear and defined break of Varsity and JV, and we shuffle athletes on different “racing teams” all season long. We are after 3 things in terms of team performance.
(1) We are on a quest to develop high performance racers prepared for the “Championship” racing.
(2) We want all team members to develop the ability to be self-sufficient lifetime runners who find joy, relaxation, and success in the sport.
(3) We enable teammates to bring out the best in each other and develop lifelong friendships with teammates.

Cross Country Team Scoring and Competition
Scoring –> lower team scores are better. Team score is based on the top 5 finishers for that team, regardless of how many are racing for that team. Finisher 6 is used for tie-breaking. Finishers 6 and 7 can “displace” scores on competing teams (adding points to other teams). Finishers 8 and above (if more than 7 racing) will not affect team scoring directly; however, they can influence team energy and team performance.
(1) Conference Championship. 10 are entered into the Varsity race. 15 into the JV race.
(2) Regional Championship. 7 are entered. 5 or 6 of these teams advance to State Championship.
(3) State Championship. 7 are entered, and they can be different than Regionals. 2 alternates allowed.
North Carolina is extremely competitive, especially in 4A class. Advancing to State Championship is a big deal, and it is difficult to do. Over the past 10 years, Leesville Road has experienced tremendous success here, and we fight for this year-round as athletes and coaches.

Running in College: Club and NCAA
After high school, there are opportunities to run in college — this includes Club and NCAA. We strongly encourage continuing with Club running in college for those who enjoyed the high school experience. Club running allows athletes to choose their level of time commitment, dedication, and competition. NCAA running does not afford this flexibility. NCAA commitments are significant and not for everyone. In terms of NCAA scholarship money, there is very little available for Cross Country (or Track & Field) — both XC and Track share the same “pool” of available scholarships under a cap set by the NCAA. For athletes interested in either Club or NCAA, our coaches can help with this process (do not hire an outside service for this).

Year-Round Racing, Track & Field
Many athletes continue onto Indoor Track & Field during Winter Sports Season (November-February) and Outdoor Track & Field during Spring Sports Season (February-May). There are opportunities to continue distance training and racing year-round. Athletes can also try other sports and dual roster with Track & Field (making the other sport their priority sport). We do mandate “running breaks” for athletes, for the physical and mental health, and this typically occurs during season changes.

Interesting article on the history/origins of cross country:  

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to coach.gamble@icloud.com