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Girls' Cross Country Culture


Mission/Vision: Through the sport of distance running, the Fenwick Girls Cross Country Program creates poised young women of character that exhibit perseverance in adversity, grace in defeat, and humility in victory as they strive to become a preeminent presence in Illinois distance running. This is achieved by creating lifelong runners in a familial team atmosphere that welcomes all in the pursuit of personal progress in the sport.

In order to achieve our mission and vision we have a core set of values:

16891004930_93aafd554a_oWe believe that success is the peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. There are few better feelings than being able to look yourself in the mirror and say that you did all that you could to be your best today. Most of the time, this will lead us to achieving our goals and possibly even surprising ourselves with our accomplishments. Unfortunately, there are instances in which something out of our control keeps us from achieving what we set out for or that our best is not good enough. Despite the outcome, we must take solace in the fact that we did all we could. For even if we do not achieve our goal we will still call ourselves successful. 

We trust the process. Runners, like most biological systems, do not progress linearly. The ebbs and flows of training are analogous to the undulations of life. Despite the ups and downs, we will remain steadfast on the process and remain faithful that it will bring what we are striving for. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” (Calvin Coolidge) 

16456260174_6db222d0b5_oWe sincerely care about each other. Despite being one of the shortest IHSA seasons, the bonds made during these runs are some of the strongest. Therefore we want to see our teammates succeed on the course, in the classroom, and in life. We look out for and are there for our teammates. Caring means tough love too – in order to be our best we must hold each other accountable. Honest and challenging conversations ensure that we are getting better. Uncompromising on integrity we know that in the long run we are all better off for it.

We believe that hard work doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to be successful, but not working hard pretty much guarantees failureMore than anything, distance running has taught the world this. Each day for a runner requires deliberate effort. Effort is required to physically to push the body and mentally to remain positive, passionate, and poised.

17081554592_e91af41cf1_oWe accept that failure is a part of the process. Although we do fall short and expect to do so from time to time, it is only a true failure if we do not learn anything from it or lose enthusiasm because of it. Experience from failure is one of life’s greatest teachers. “Every struggle, every challenge, every failure is meant to help show us who we are in this moment and how far we have to go to become all we are meant to be…We realize we are unfinished works of art.” (The Carpenter)

We know that bringing our best each day will further the success of the team.​ We are interdependent upon one another - we need each other to achieve our goals. In order for your teammates to succeed, you need to be putting in all that you can to succeed yourself. Although each members' abilities are different each must be doing all that they can in order to actualize our full potential as a team. We often analogize the team to a boat full of rowers: If I am rowing as hard I can and see you not doing your best, I don't want your extra weight on the boat. If you are on the boat then you must be rowing the best you can.

unity_hudleWe see the excellence within ourselves and together as a team. Just as a soup requires different quality ingredients to simmer to perfection, so does a team. Each athlete brings something unique to the program with their personality, talents, energy, or overall ethic. By coming each day authentically with a focus on positivity and teamwork, all the while working to actualize your greatest self, you are making the soup of the team more delicious.

We pursue a thorough and balanced high school experience. Just as a chair cannot stand on one leg, we must dedicate ourselves to other interests. Being a great family member, friend, student, and member of the school community are key for a complete academic experience. The excellence we strive for on the team should be brought to all aspects of our life - for excellence and the pursuit of it is a habit. 

bus_fun_copyWe understand that each day is a gift and live it positively. How fortunate we are to spend falls together in the fresh air and sunshine while chasing a goal! We get to have a positive impact on our teammates, coaches, competitors, and even people that we pass on a run. Living in the wealthiest country in history, attending an outstanding school, having an able body and mind to contribute to an athletic team – we are very fortunate. We should take note of that and strive to make each day a masterpiece. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” (Meister Eckhart, O.P.)

We believe that the little things make the biggest of differences. Sleep, attitude, hydration, nutrition, consistent training, strides, stretching, and stress management all seem like little things compared to a daunting workout, but it is those things (most of which happen outside of practice) that fully develop a runner. There is no magic formula or workout that will make you the best you can be, but instead recognizing that training happens not just for the 90 or so minutes in the cardiovascular and muscular realm, but instead all 24 hours each day in the interdependent physiological systems: psychological, digestive, endocrine, neurological, spiritual, etc.

29127919093_c0ed468449_oWe recognize that our blessings are best actualized when shared with others. Gifts are made to be shared; We look for ways to lift others up with them. From organized service opportunities to simple smiles on the street, we joyously share what we have been given with the rest of the world. Paradoxically, when we look out for and raise others up, we somehow raise ourselves up in the process. “To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” (Lk 12:48)