Running through the fall

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 24, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Before their cross country practice, Suffolk high school students warm up. During practice, they’re still warming up. For some, the entire season is something of a warmup. A warmup for winter and spring sports, that is.

&uot;I do this to get in shape for soccer,&uot; said Lakeland’s Jessica Estienne, in her second year of jogging around the Cavalier campus and up and down Kenyon Street a few times an afternoon. &uot;I didn’t like track, but I like this because it’s distance running, not sprinting.&uot;

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Her teammate Steve Morean uses the distance running to prepare for basketball and baseball – though he did manage to help the Cavalier open their season with a victory over Nansemond River on Sept. 2.

&uot;This is good conditioning,&uot; said the senior. &uot;It helps with breathing.&uot;

All three Suffolk public school teams return to action today at Bell’s Mill in Chesapeake. When someone’s going step-for-step next to you, it’s tough to keep your mind on what you’re doing, admits Morean.

&uot;You have more competition at a meet,&uot; he said. &uot;You just focus forward and don’t look at whoever might be next to you. It makes you want to go faster.&uot; Meets are 5K (3.1 miles) long.

While Estienne and Morean use the sport to warm up, it’s something of a cooling off process for Allison Jones.

&uot;I like the distance running,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s the way that I manage my stress from school. Every I get mad, I just go run, and then I feel happy.&uot; She felt even happier last season when she was the only Lakeland student to qualify for regionals (to do so, a runner must finish in the top 12 in the season-ending Southeastern Dist-rict meet).

Nansemond River’s Malik McBride hopes to head higher than district competition this season.

&uot;My best time is 19:02 right now,&uot; said the sophomore Warrior, who began running while a John Yeates Middle School student. &uot;By the end of the year, I hope it’s down to 18 minutes flat.&uot;