Juniors Ashlee Diamond and Davontea Fast, varsity leaders for West Side Academy's cross country team, have very different reasons for running.
Diamond uses the grueling five kilometer runs as good conditioning for the upcoming basketball season. Fast, as his name would suggest, just love to run. They are just two of the 26 athletes who make up the growing teams of six boys and 20 girls.
Fast has posted the best times this season for the boys team. His time of 20:33 at the Wayne County Championships is a personal record for the five kilometer distance. His times keep him competitive with others in his division, and he hopes to medal at the regional meet on October 29.
“I’m enjoying my season and it’s something fun to do. I also love running,” said Fast. "It’s a very fun sport.
“The hardest part is practice because right after school you have to practice for an hour or two," he said. "It can be tough some days to balance homework and the sport.”
Diamond posted her fastest time of the season with a 25:31. Although cross country isn’t her main sport, she sees the benefit of improving her endurance before next spring's basketball season.
“I enjoy doing a challenging sport. It is a lot harder than it seems,” said Diamond.
Both Fast and Diamond have been running for three years.