Track vs Cross Country


Photo Courtesy of: Morgan Sanders

Cross country and track. These two sports are similar in that they are very competitive running sports and they involve the team. Quite a few people here at EMS do both sports.

Kaitie Venhuizen, a seventh grader, does cross country and track, and enjoys them both a great deal.

“I love running, and they are really fun,” she said.  Cross country is her favorite though.

“I like the free runs, and there aren’t as many people there, so you can focus on your own things,” she said. Her favorite thing about cross country is playing Friday the 13th in the woods.

She likes track too though.

“I like the people that do it,  and I like the practices,” she said. Venhuizen takes part in the mile, long jump, and usually the 4×400 relay.

Track has been around for 11 centuries. The first race was held in ancient Rome, during the first Olympic festival, in 776 B.C It was said to have been one length of the track. Since then, the events have expanded in both number and variety. Today, in professional track and field, there are usually 44 events.

East doesn’t have that many track events, but the meets do include sprints, like the 200, 100, 75, and 50 meter dash; middle distances like the 400 meter and 800 meter; and long distances like the mile or two mile. There are also hurdles, in lengths of 55, and 200 meters, and relays that go from the 4×100, the 4×200, 4×400, and the 4×800. The field events range from long jump, and high jump, to pole vault, and shot put.

Cross country started in England in the early 19th century. The original game was called “The Paper Chase. One group of runners set out, choosing a random path, and dropping pieces of paper along the ground. Then a second group would try to follow them, by following the peices of paper.

Eventually, the runs became a race.  In 1878 William C. Vosburgh, a New York citizen, introduced it to the United States. Then in 1880, cross country running was introduced to Harvard as a fall sport for the long distance track and field runners. International competition began between France and England in 1898 and annual meets between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales started in 1903.

Since then cross country and track have become pretty popular.

JJ Dutmers, a seventh grader,  was on East’s track team last year.

“It’s good exercise” he said.  “I like to run, and all my friends do it.”

Dutmers likes to run the 400, 4×400 relay, and the 4×100 relay. Overall, he likes the coaches, but he wishes they worked the sprinters and long distances more.

Dutmers plans to join the team again this year.