Denver Waldorf School Cross Country Program
Written by Milan and Oza Klanjsek and Tim Williams, Denver Waldorf School Parents and DWS Cross Country Coaches
Cross Country running is a very popular competitive sport that typically starts in Middle School. Cross-country is one of the fastest growing competitive sports for youth. USA Track & Field is the governing body for track & field, road running and cross-country running.
Although Cross Country competition, and especially practice, can take place during any month of the year, the sport is offered to Denver Waldorf School students as a fall sport.
Cross Country season in Colorado is from late August to late October. The Denver Waldorf School competes in 2A and 3A meets, geared specifically for schools with smaller number of students. Both our Cross Country High School and Middle School Teams are co-ed with girls and boys training together.
Middle School cross country races range in distances from 2K to 5K. High School cross country races are 5K, or 3.1 miles. Courses can vary from the sure-footed landscape, to uneven dirt trails, to the rugged grass of parks, or any combination thereof. Some courses even include asphalt road sections when necessary.
Cross Country is both an individual and a team sport, as runners are timed on an individual basis and a points scoring method for teams.
Cross Country at The Denver Waldorf School
The emphasis for The Denver Waldorf School Cross Country Program is on creating a team of students who are able to compete in cross country meets, and on participation and supporting the development of a healthy lifestyle. Cross Country is a sport for all types of athletes. The High School and Middle School Cross Country Teams are comprised of students who are both competitive runners and recreational athletes. Cross Country attracts a wide range of students, from those who want to race competitively, to those who want to stay in shape for other sports, to those who wish to get better physically fit. There are no tryouts. Everyone is welcome and everyone gets to race.
In fall 2013, Denver Waldorf School Cross Country teams will participate in six or seven meets, including the State Championship meet (Middle School) and Regional Championship meet (High School). Qualifying athletes from the High School Regional meet may also participate in the High School State Championship meet. We strive to select meets that work the best with our students’ schedule and minimize the effect of driving on parents, while giving the athletes an appropriate balance of cross country running competition.
Denver Waldorf School Coaches and Their Approach
Interscholastic athletics coaching has a different mission and purpose then professional coaching.
The coaches are all Denver Waldorf School parents, experienced runners and previous/current athletes and we all take pride in coaching cross country. Our motto is: “Student first, athlete second.” Our coaching approach to the sport of cross country is all-inclusive and supportive to student with all abilities and backgrounds. Our practices include a mental awareness component that compliments the physical training. We believe that by participating in a cross country program, runners will improve their performance as well as academic achievements, experience character building and support their teammates.
We always strive to create a safe, non-threatening and respectful environment and provide opportunities to learn new skills and focus on:
• Delayed gratification
The Denver Waldorf School Cross Country program follows a developed plan for:
• During season
We believe that participation in a program is an opportunity for students to expand their sport activities and that athletics and related activities are educational. Program emphasis is on:
• Participation and developing a healthy lifestyle
• Creating the right environment for each student, and leaving it to them to decide which path to take
• Teaching life skills: self improvement, commitment, dedication, perseverance, time management, goal setting, fair play as well as provide healthy life perspective
• Motivating and inspiring our students to try their best
Students are expected to participate in enough practices to be able to compete in meets
-Students are expected to compete in five of seven meets
-Students are expected to be on time
Cross country running has both mental and physical benefits. Whatever the students’ athletic background, adding cross country running to their training schedule can only benefit their overall health and growth.
To name just a few benefits of the Cross Country running:
-Improved physical fitness; Running strengthens the heart and lungs and the major muscles of the body. Learning good running technique and avoiding running injuries is of utmost importance.
-Improved mental and emotional well being as well and self-discipline. Cross Country running teaches a lot and even modest running talent is rewarded by good discipline.
-Other benefits of the cross country running fall into the social category. Developing character skills such as encouraging friends and focusing on team over individual, keeping a positive attitude, setting and achieving goals, time management and understanding the importance of a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition.
This program can not exist without parent’s involvement.
We are constantly reminded of the famous “Athletic triangle = Student-Parents-Coach” and work tirelessly on creating a strong bond and good communication with parents. We’re grateful for all the support we receive from our parent body. We always welcome your feedback and questions.