I was shocked as I walked to Rains on the first day of practice and approached an unexpectedly large hoard of young women lounging on the steps. Yes, I had heard rumors that we were getting quite a few first-years this year, but there were 30 girls in front of me. Since when had Pomona-Pitzer cross country been so popular? Had Kirk been on a recruiting frenzy during his sabbatical last fall? All I knew was that, despite the fact that I was nearly jumping out of my running shoes with excitement for the season, I couldn’t help being slightly concerned for the fate of the team. Team bonding was easy with a squad of only 14 like we had had in the past, but 30? COME ON! How could we be unified when we couldn’t even travel to meets in one van?
I shouldn’t have been worried, though. Despite my constant struggle with injuries, PPXC 2011 has turned out to be one of the most epic seasons ever. I really should have known… a big team only amplifies the fun! There are more girls to laugh at Kirk’s jokes during specific strength, more woman warriors to make it up Mt. Baldy, and an entire crew of dancing maniacs to cheer on the men’s team. (Which reminds me, I hope you guys appreciated us.) This year we went from a team of “women” to a team of WOMEN! And girls, because I know all you are going to read this article, I want you to know how honored I am to be a part of this team, injuries and all.
As the SCIAC Championships approach—this Saturday, Oct. 29 at Prado Park, for all you non-runners—I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic. Since my first days at Pomona College as a gangly, timid first-year, the PPXC ladies have been the backbone of my college experience. “Chirp” and “skew” are engrained in my essence. And let me tell you, it’s not the competing, that eternal glory of crossing the finish line, that has made PPXC so important to me. Many of you know that I’ve only participated in three races in the last three years. What makes PPXC so worthwhile is the ladies. And I don’t just like you all so much because we are the self-proclaimed, undisputed Hottest Team of the 5Cs. No offense to all the other women’s sports teams out there.
Honestly, I’ve never met a group of girls that are as determined, optimistic, light-hearted, energetic, and fun as the PPXC women. From making t-shirts, dancing to dubstep, games of Ninjas vs. Superheroes, and ABC abs to pre-meet breakfasts and bobbing around in Pendleton on Mondays, every moment has been, well, awesome. I loved the looks on your faces as each of you summited Mt. Baldy, and I enjoy watching you exceed your expectations during each Saturday meet. I even cried as I watched Ilona Kats PO ’12 finish the race of her lifetime at La Mirada two weeks ago. I may not be running, but because of that, a little piece of me has been invested in every one of your seasons. I live for your successes and share your pain during your toughest workouts and races. When you hear me cheering from the sidelines, I mean every single word I sing or shout. And just so you girls know, dressing up as Cecil the Sagehen during the P-P Invite and hearing how much I inspired you during your races was just as rewarding—or even more rewarding—than racing myself.
The moral of the story is that I love you girls. I love PPXC. I cannot imagine graduating and leaving the team this spring. So, for now, I’m going to live in the moment! It’s SCIAC time, for goodness’ sake. Let’s run hard and end the season with a bang!