Cross country stars

Lindsay Tyrell-Blake

From being like any other person – to being the best runners in school, sophomore Piper Hula and junior Tyler Ring have risen to the top this season of cross country.

Ring led the boys team with two finishes in the Top 35. Hula was the AVCTL I league champion and qualified for the Class 6A meet. 

“It’s really nice to get to see all the hard work you put in to finally pay off when you have the great race at the end of the season when it counts the most,” Hula said. 

Like Hula, Ring – who ran track his sophomore year – decided to switch to cross country because he liked to see improvement in his running. 

“I like how you can’t fake it at all. Like, if you didn’t put in the work that week or you were slacking off – or if you were only getting every other workout done – you’ll see that,” Ring said. 

The switch to cross country also brought on many challenges for these runners, including a new mentality and determination.

“There’s so many times where you want to quit running in a race when you feel awful, but you have to keep going,” Hula said. “It teaches mental toughness and I think that’s something everybody should have.”

A runner who had to push through the harder challenges was junior Katie Hazen, who along with Hula, qualified for state. Hazen has had to struggle with health issues through the season, but fought through them for her team and herself.

“(It was a) struggle for her not being her best all year – but she pushed through for her teammates,” coach Jimmy Adams said. “It was awesome.”

At the end of the day, the most important aspect for a runner is if they used that determination to get the best out of what they did.

“I don’t want to feel like I could’ve done more. I always want to feel like I did everything I could,” Ring said.

Part of that determination comes into play with a runner’s diet and exercise.

“My diet and sleep is really important,” junior Tyler Ring said. “I prioritize those now – I used to not really think about that. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night and I just try to eat good.”

Proud of what they’ve achieved in her first year of cross country, Hula and Ring continue to set further goals for themselves, prepared to be the best.