Boys’ cross country beats the heat with morning practices

Boys' cross country beats the heat with morning practices

Photo courtesy of Wayne Baldwin

Holden Foreman, sports writer

At 5:50 a.m. most students are tucked in bed and soundly sleeping, but on multiple mornings last week members of the boys cross country team were at Kirkwood Park preparing to run their fastest. Summer heat was the cause for such practices, as the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) instructs coaches to reschedule practices when the heat index is above 105 degrees.

Athletes agree morning practices differ greatly from those in the afternoon, but opinions vary on which time is better.

“There’s positive and negative things about [morning practices],” Sam Hooks, senior captain, said. “The positive is [the practices] are shorter, the weather is nicer and you have plenty of time for homework after school.”

Hooks went on to say that, for him, the positives outweigh the negatives and morning practices are preferred, but Drew Wagner, junior, has a different view.

“I prefer afternoon practices because morning practices don’t offer anything,” Wagner said. “It’s cooler, but you sacrifice your sleep, and then you suffer in school.”

Sean McCarthy, assistant coach and English teacher at KHS, sympathizes with Wagner’s struggles.  Despite KHS dealing with hot weather on a yearly basis the team agrees morning practices are hard to plan, and they are rarely consistent.

“It takes its toll, and I’ve had people tell me with those exact words that it’s taking its toll,” McCarthy said.

Hooks and Wagner agree the shift to morning practices severely impacts their schedules, and the same applies to the coaches as well.

“I have more time to grade after school, but it’s a little rough in the morning,” McCarthy said.  “I do [get up early], but I’m not usually at some place by 6:00.  I usually read the paper and process my day.”

No such luxuries exist for the coaches with morning practices, but McCarthy expresses gratitude for head coach Wayne Baldwin’s help in making sure he has enough time to prepare himself for a day of teaching.

“Coach Baldwin stays and lets me leave a little early, so I can run over and get my class ready,” McCarthy said.  “If I had to do what Baldwin does I would be super super stressed.”
The boys’ cross country team had morning practices Monday through Wednesday of last week, but with summer continuing it’s possible more will be scheduled in the near future.