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Running with Purpose

Heading into the final weeks of the season, Valor boys and girls cross country teams are ranked higher than they’ve ever been. The boys just finished 2nd in the Jeffco League meet behind a team that finished 3rd in the country last year. The girls are ranked in the top 30 in the country and won the league meet in a significant fashion. Individually, two boys and three girls are all ranked within the top 100 runners in the country.

Somehow, these incredible accomplishments on the racecourse aren’t even the biggest highlights for the cross country team this year. At the team’s annual summer retreat, 10 people decided to show their commitment to Christ through baptism. Head coach Greg Coplen said, “That they would want to make that confession of their faith in front of their team says a lot about how they all feel about each other.”

The team’s family dynamic is especially unique because of how much has changed from the year before. The team grew from 48 runners on last year’s team to 67 this year, partly due to the greatest influx of transfer students ever. Rather than change creating friction, it has built a new and thriving culture on the foundation of the team’s existing goals and values.

The energy and excitement on the cross country team are palpable. In conversation with families, Coach Coplen hears one repeating theme –  “I’ve never been a part of anything like this in my life.” He says this experience can only be attributed to the team’s culture and values.

“There truly is a foundation in our cross country program that is paving the way for students and families alike to come and begin to find purpose, meaning, worth in the midst of trying to live out the example of Christ in our day to day, week to week practices, competitions and interactions with each other.” In training and in competition, the Valor cross country team is pursuing something more than individual success. Together, they are running towards Christ-likeness.

To see them in action, you can watch qualifying runners in the state meet in Colorado Springs on October 26 at 1 pm at the Norris Penrose Event

Center. After the state meet, they’ll prepare for the Nike SW Regional Meet in Casa Grande, AZ on November 23. The SW Regional Meet will set the stage for the top teams and individuals out of a 4 state region to qualify for the Nike National XC Meet. Only two teams and five individuals qualify for Nationals out of each region.

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