At a time when students in school districts all across the Twin Cities have struggled for ways to stay connected to one another during the coronavirus pandemic, the cross country team at the Twin Cities German Immersion School in the Como neighborhood has found community while still staying safe and healthy.
At the German Immersion School, one in four middle school students found community among their peers on the cross country course this fall. As three-year veteran and team captain Eleanor Poppenhagen said, “It was great to have the team back.”
Staying distanced and wearing masks during the warm-ups and cool-downs was a transition at the beginning of the season. But the TCGIS Immers (Gavia immer or loon) quickly adapted and soon toed the start line at a few small meets. With the new start signals including a mask-drop, the harriers remained masked until split seconds before the start of their races.
“The cross country program gave us a sense of normalcy during COVID,” team parent Beth Fruehling said. The runners competed mostly against themselves in several time trials.
Despite accepting the new challenges presented by COVID-19, the season had some disappointments for the runners, including missing exciting invitational meets and the spirited pasta parties. But the runners hope to resume those opportunities for the 2021 season.
Until then, the benefit of cross country is “learning to persevere during challenging tasks,” said parent Stacey Flanigan.
Submitted by Chris Tabisz, a middle school Social Studies teacher and head track / cross-country coach at the Twin Cities German Immersion School.