By Nathan Seidel
Chester Pruitt ('18) is new to the sport of cross country, but he is already making an incredible difference for the Raiders this season.
Pruitt is confident that cross country is a sport in which he can excel.
"It's a different sport, it's a little challenging," Pruitt said, "but I think I can be good in the long run if I keep practicing and working hard."
The cross-country team is off to a promising start this season. Their most recent meet
was Friday, September 26. The Raider boys finished first, second, third, fourth, and sixth, thoroughly dominating, while for the girls, Audrey Lemon finished second and Margo Winn and Rebecca Benson both had solid runs. Walter Mann was victorious with a strong time of 19:50, and Pruitt finished second with a time of 20:12.
Pruitt played soccer all through middle school, but once he reached his high school years, he decided to pursue the less popular, though difficult, sport of cross country. This year, he is a member of the Raiders' varsity cross-country squad. The varsity team consists of around fifteen people this season. The Raiders were victorious in their first meet this season, defeating runners from Virginia Episcopal School and Hargrave Military Academy. In this meet, Pruitt emerged as a talented new runner, finishing first out of all boys participating.
In cross country meets, Pruitt runs 5ks, a race that amasses a distance of just over three miles. He likes this distance, and feels that it is working well for him.
"A mile would be a little short," Pruitt said, "and five miles would be a little long."
Every day, the runners gather at the CAC for practice. After they meet, the team stretches and they receive their assignments for the day. Pruitt usually runs up near the head of the pack, with Coach Dickenson. The team usually covers about two miles every day. They run all over campus, including the trails in the woods.
The varsity cross-country team at our school is coached by Ed Dickenson, the head of Eaton Hall. He has been leading the Raider runners since 1989. Coach Dickenson is a runner himself, and he delights in passing on his passion for cross country. He also enjoys running with the team and getting to know them as people. In addition, he loves the feeling of pride when he watches his runners compete in the final meets of the season.
"I want the team to enjoy practices even on days when we are training extremely hard," Dickenson said, "I want for them to enjoy the routine of running because it is a lifetime sport."