The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team, winner of the last six Class 5A state championships, took part in the annual four-day preseason running clinic at Lake Rosemond north of St. Francisville.
The team spent four days and three nights at the end of July completing a variety of run sessions in the hills of Tunica, playing competitive team games, performing team-building exercises and setting team goals for the 2022 season.
Prior to departure, the full team was split into four sub-teams with an assigned color, each with its own upperclass leader. They were seniors Emma Claire Hendry, Claire Beyer and Cassi Miller and junior Grace Rennhoff.
Each day began with a 6 a.m. wake-up call to gear up and get ready for a morning run, which ranged in mileage and culminated with a 10-mile run opportunity on the last day. Additionally, the days were filled with competitively scored team games.
The time was also highlighted by team discussions and team-building exercises. At the end of each day, camp chaperones selected the outstanding teammate of the day. They were freshman Tiana Khuri, junior Elise Brown and senior Claire Beyer.
Camp chef was Tina LaHaye assisted by SJA cross country faculty moderator Angelle Saia. Chaperones were Rachel Beyer, Brooke Miller, Brittany Hendry and Stacy Monzon. Head coach Mark LaHaye is joined on this year’s staff by Kate Butler Cook ’01, Charlie Daigle and Sarah Catherine LeBlanc Buie ’15.
Rennhoff said the clinic was a great experience, with tough workouts that pushed the runners. “We gave it our all every practice,” she said. “I enjoyed learning new workouts and having a chance to bond more with the team. Our team has become so close over the summer, and Coach Mark makes the summer training valuable with all the time and hard work he puts into it. I am looking forward to watching everyone’s hard work pay off. I can’t wait to start the season.”
Hendry said the most valuable aspect of the camp was the opportunity to bond as a team. “Having quality time with teammates and building closer relationships with one another was great,” she said. “I am looking forward to this season and all the opportunities for accomplishment it holds.”
Miller said she especially enjoyed being a senior team captain and looks forward to making her final season a memorable one. She found great value in the preseason clinic. “We only get to experience camp once a year after the end of a very hard and demanding summer training season,” she said. “This is the time and the place where we get to see all of our hard work unfold and truly get to enjoy one another. We become a tight-knit family when we go to camp, and once we come back and the real work begins, we are all so much more in sync with one another and can truly be ourselves around our teammates and coaches. We have set some pretty high goals for ourselves, but I am very excited to watch all of our hard work come together and unfold for the competition to see.”
“I really enjoyed how everyone got so much closer to the each other on the team,” Beyer added. “We came out of camp very united. Everyone really developed a positive mindset, got faster on their runs and bonded with everyone on the team. I am ready to see how well we do this season and how everyone will meet their goals.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Tina LaHaye