By Dave Burge
Cross country is the sport that you really have to feel like doing. The training, the practice sessions, and even the races can be sheer agony and you often just do it in front of your teammates and other runners.
It’s certainly not a soccer ball with the crowds, cheerleaders, and fame.
This is what makes the nearly three decades of success of Organ Mountain High, formerly Oñate High, so astonishing.
“If you’re injured on the track, you don’t run alone; You run for your team. I think this is how we will achieve our success. It’s so selfless. If you win, you win as a team. “
This is how Orgelberg senior Brynn Olsen describes the school’s success over the years.
Cross-country skiing on Organ Mountain is getting off to a strong start again under the direction of experienced trainer David Nuñez, who has been running the program since 1994.
The boys ‘and girls’ university teams have come together over the years for 24 district championships. The girls ranked third in the state and the boys ranked fourth several times.
The program also recently won its 100th invitational team title under the direction of Nuñez.
“I would like to see us keep improving and making progress,” said Olsen. “We won a few meetings and I want us to keep doing this until we get to the district and the state, we’re doing great.”
Nuñez said Organ Mountain / Oñate started a tradition of cross-country success that stems from younger siblings seeing their older brothers and sisters running and then coming out for the team when they get to school.
“We call it our cross-country family,” said Nuñez.
Nuñez says he likes to tell his runners that everyone is important and that every runner matters.
“Every runner in our program has value and worth. My goal is to get them to believe in themselves and reach their full potential, ”said Nuñez.
In cross country, the top five runners on one team score points, but runners six and seven can oust the top five runners from other teams or throw them into a lower position if they finish ahead of them. That can make cross country get-togethers a long-range version of a game of chess.
“That’s the beauty of cross country,” said Nuñez. “Everyone sees you. You can not hide. You’re out there trying to help your team and doing your best to contribute to your team. “
Senior Andrew Parks said the boys’ college team was motivated by its pursuit of a fourth straight district championship.
So what is behind this success?
“It really is our coach,” said Parks. “It has everything to do with him. He got around. He’s been here since the school opened. He understands the sport and is a student of the sport. “
Senior Josslynn Ochoa said that everyone involved with the Mountain Cross Country organ “has a lot of love in our hearts for our sport and our coach”.
“It’s just very strong,” she said.
Another senior at the girls’ school, Makaila Hill, said the program had a family aspect to it.
“We’re really close,” said Hill. “Our trainer is great at pushing us and making sure we are ready to run and injury free.
“It’s a very self-determined sport,” Hill continued. “You have to have a passion for running. It’s very mental. If you don’t have the mental toughness, it will hurt you and you will not enjoy it. Other sports have that fame, but I think we get that fame at the end of the line. “
Las Cruces will host the District 3-5A meeting on the Organ Mountain Course on October 30th. The state cross-country championships are scheduled for November 6th at the Albuquerque Academy.
Organ Mountain is hoping to get some fame at these two big get-togethers.