Webb cross country teams endure the heat


Sunny Yu ('22)

Sofia Centeno (‘22) and Laura Haushaulter (‘21) chat before the beginning of cross country practice.

Summers in California are no joke! The past few Septembers in Claremont have been real scorchers, which could have negative effects on the athletes of fall season sports at Webb. Since it is an outdoor sport, cross country at Webb bears the brunt of these heat waves, and runners are forced to endure the blazing hot weather every day. 

Many of the runners on the VWS cross country team feel that the boiling afternoons present a huge challenge. Sofia Centeno (‘22), a VWS cross country runner, believes that the hot weather has a serious impact on daily practices. 

Sofia said, “We haven’t been in the season for too long… when we add the heat onto that, everyone dehydrates a lot faster. It also takes a lot more energy to run.” 

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are significant issues that can arise during cross country practices. Greg Gerken, a WSC cross country coach, keeps a careful eye out while the boys are running. 

Mr. Gerken said, “I’m making sure students are drinking lots of water, making sure they’re doing okay, looking for signs of heat exhaustion.”

Heat-related illnesses are important to watch out for, especially for anyone spending a lot of time outside in the sun. According to ABC10, if someone shows signs of heat exhaustion – heavy sweating or clammy skin, nausea, or cramps–they should be moved to a cooler location, sip water, and take a cold shower to cool down. 

However, if one takes preventative measures, such as drinking water throughout the day, the heat becomes less of an issue. Nick Theobald (‘22), a runner on the WSC cross country team, holds a positive attitude toward the heat. 

Nick said, “Overall, the heat doesn’t affect practice too much. The only way we might change is the way we prepare for it… sometimes we change practices from speed workouts to long and slow workout to train our bodies.”

Geoffrey Owers, the head coach of VWS cross country, thinks that the heat slows down practices. Although Mr. Owers has planned early morning practices on the hotter days of the week, it is easier scheduling-wise to just run in the afternoon. He admits that the sun makes the sport tougher, but that eventually it is all worth the struggle as running in the sun develops mental strength. 

Mr. Owers said, “We are trying to run, dealing with the heat and getting back in shape at the same time. There’s a lot of things we need to work through. You do get used to it, but it is never easy… it [the heat] makes your body learn to metabolize and process everything faster, and more importantly, it makes you mentally stronger too, which is the name of the game in cross country.” 

For all the runners and fall sports players out there–not just the members of the cross country teams–remember that adjusting your mindset is the key to staying positive despite the blazing sun. As long as you drink water regularly and keep an eye out for the signs of heat exhaustion, you are prepared to face the fiery fall afternoons.