OP XC Feature: The Elders and the Disciples


Joe Meade, Staff Writer

Throughout the long cross country season, many running groups have been changed and improved. In my last OP XC piece, I wrote about “The Old Man Group”. While The Old Man Group was one of the cross country team’s most unique groups, the group has since been altered. Now this alteration has not been for any negative reasons, rather it was for a strategically important reason that could help build the foundation for the future stars of OP XC. Since the Old Men are men who have vast bastions of knowledge, Coach McCrystal decided it would be a grand idea to put new freshmen with the Old Men. The Old Men then took the initiative to educate these new freshmen and turn them into complete runners both mentally and physically. They did this by giving direction and structure to the freshmen’s running. These actions lead the new group to be called “The Elders and The Disciples”. “The Elders” consisted of the “Old Men” while “the Disciples” consisted of the aspiring freshmen. While “The Elders and the Disciples” were created in the back half of the season, the addition of the freshmen paid off for both the disciples and the elders of the group. The reason for the Disciples’ improvement was obvious. Their exposure to the wise and caring elders lead them to improve times easily and dramatically. However, the Elders’ improvement can be attributed to one freak theory. When the freshmen were added in, “the Elders” remembered what it meant to be young which added a new feeling of youth to themselves. This led to many of the Elders cutting significant time off their 5K times from the middle to the end of the season. Many have said that behind every great person is a great teacher. This group can be used to verify this theory.