Perry cross country focuses on values heading into new season

Libbie Randall - Sports
Mario Cruz runs alongside Perry Cross Country assistant coach Andrew Hamer at a recent practice. PHOTO BY LIBBIE RANDALL/THE PERRY CHIEF

Perry Elementary Vice Principal Ryan Marzen is bringing his immense experience competing in Ironman Challenges to the Bluejay cross country team.

In his first year coaching this particular team Marzen says the practices he held during the summer was the base phase of this season.

“It (the base phase) is our most important phase in my opinion,” said Coach Marzen. “With that phase they (the runners) not only build their time running on their feet, but they also prevent injuries because they are getting used to running.”

Going into this season Coach Marzen also emphasized the importance of great participation among all team members which helps with the transition into the next phase of the season. This next phase is appropriately labeled by Coach Marzen as the lactate threshold phase which includes increasing oxygen intake and heightening stamina levels.

No stranger to the sport of running and the strength one needs to succeed at it, Coach Marzen says his main goal for this year’s team is to make sure they grow.

“With everything I just want to make sure they (the Bluejays) have a growth mindset,” Coach Marzen said. “I want to instill those great values into those kids so they can bring them out and back into our community.”

Senior and dual-sport athlete Mario Cruz is one to make sure this goal comes to fruition. When asked what role he believes he should take on being a senior on the cross country team, Cruz says he wants to take on a captain-like position.

“Coach (Marzen) sometimes holds me accountable with the other members of the team when it comes to a lot of the things that I do,” Cruz said. “Being captain means being responsible for others, helping others finish during a hard practice, and giving my all every day.”

Cruz has proven his ability to give maximum effort by not only influencing this young team to become a great runner, but by also proving that it can be done along with participating in another activity. Cruz in currently a senior on the Perry football team and transitions between cross country and football practice every afternoon.

Again, Coach Marzen continues to make the idea of values and attitude the most important factor among his team.

“I always say that we could have the fastest runners, but more importantly it’s the values that they bring to their community and the values that they bring bring back into the school,” Coach Marzen said. “So things such as teaching them hard work, perseverance, and goal setting, those are skills that are great to be able to learn here in cross country.”


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