Putting Character Ahead of Performance


Harry Steinberg, Sports Editor

Although you may not see them jogging from class to class, the Durango High School cross country team is definitely going places – both in the community and on the trails. Senior leaders from the team have created and implemented a mission statement, encompassing all of what it means to be a runner for DHS.

“The Mission of the Durango XC team is to help every individual reach their full potential, not just athletically but academically and interpersonally. In doing so, we intend for the betterment of the entire team to stem from the betterment of every individual.  We are only as strong as each of us allows us to be,” said the Demons official webpage.

The redesigned goal for the team has risen spirits and given a fresh perspective to athletics.

“Our mission statement isn’t about winning, it’s about being a better team,” said So. Mary Fenberg. Putting character above results places the cross country team in a unique position. Athletes are encouraged to look for help within the team and make a conscious effort to build other teammates up.

“The seniors have created something that has helped me focus on what I need to do, because it shows me that there are more priorities than just running,” said Jr. Sam Dippold. “We are not just out here to be athletes, we are out here to be great team members and great community members.”

The art of running has always embodied much more than going fast, but having a mission statement to guide the way makes it easier to be accountable. “It really means to never leave anyone behind and to always stick up for everyone on our team,” said Fenberg.

Seniors have led by example and shown first time runners the expectations associated with being a DHS runner. “Without the heavy stress from school, if we are all working together to help everybody, that stress will evaporate and we will become a better team,” said Sr. David Moenning.

Freshman Marcus Flint has caught on to the new idea. “We are a unified team, and we do more than just running,” said Flint.

The mission statement translates directly to training. Running requires an immense amount of physical and mental strength – strength which is found by becoming the best person you can be. “It’s inspirational to me how my teammates fight th
rough the pain, and I don’t think anyone else can do that,” said Fr. Joe Pope.

The combo of the new mission statement and early season workouts has set the Demons off to a red hot start. The boys varsity team has won every race they’ve entered in dominating fashion, with the girls varsity team not far behind.

All eyes now turn to what the Demons can accomplish in the second half of the season, with the JV team closing out their season on October 2 in a four day Phoenix trip. Varsity will continue to race into late October.

Having strong character may be the best way to a finishing the season strong.

“The mission statement plays hand-in-hand in what we want to accomplish this season. We have set a pretty high bar for ourselves,” said Sr. Seamus Millett. “We are only going to meet our goals athletically if we meet our community goals first.”