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The Lantern

Filed under Showcase, Sports

Going the extra mile… Disney style

The Lantern features James Watson's outstanding cross country season.

Senior+James+Watson+doing+what+he+does+best.
Senior James Watson doing what he does best.

Senior James Watson doing what he does best.

Sophie Epps

Sophie Epps

Senior James Watson doing what he does best.

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After warming up at the Pine Island golf course on September 21, cross country captain James Watson looked down at his running spikes and prayed. To remind himself that he is running for God, James wrote several inspirational bible verses on his spikes prior to race day. Running at roughly a pace of 5:49 per mile, James flew into the finish chute with a time of 18:03.30. Echoes of his grandpa and dad saying “the pain is only temporary” had driven James during the race and helped him achieve the fastest boy’s time on the course. As though he was a king, James’s teammates bowed down to him after awards were handed out. Not only was this the first race his mom was able to attend but the race also signified that all of those extra miles paid off.

Over the summer, the senior rarely took a day of rest as he consistently ran between six to eleven miles every day. On one of his runs, James was passing by a field when a doe caught the corner of his eye. Several times James would wave at the doe and each time the doe would wag her tail back. Before letting out a bleat and prancing into the woods, the doe had gotten as close as fifteen feet to James. Although encountering animals on a run can be interesting, James’s main motivation to run over the summer was his dad, who mentioned the 500 mile club to James, and his grandpa, who suggested that James build up endurance for the upcoming season. The 500 mile club is a challenge in which 500 miles of any form of exercise must be completed in 100 days and James was able to successfully complete this challenge. Assistant Coach Randy Harris stated, “having run all of those miles in the summer, James prepared himself to be at a higher level of fitness coming into the season. He shaved over a minute off of his previous times from last year and I think that was because he ran in the summer.” Even though running comes easy to James now, he has had to overcome many obstacles throughout the years.

“James has a come a long way since his freshman year when his head bobbed from side to side. Once his strength caught up with his body, James started improving,” stated Head Cross Country Coach Ben Schopp. “He comes from a big family of runners so I think that is where he gets his inspiration.” In the winter of tenth grade, James began going to the gym every morning to work on proper running techniques with his dad, who was also a notable runner in high school and college. After months of perfecting his performance, James was unstoppable. Although running has become an addiction to James, he wasn’t always a fan of running. The awkward years of middle school also brought onto James a strong disliking towards long distance running but luckily, he quickly grew out of that phase and became a highly respected leader on the cross country team.

Any Cannon Falls cross country runner immediately knew when James was coming during a run because a certain genre of music blared from his phone speaker. Disney songs from movies like Moana and Princess and the Frog became an essential part during runs at practice for James. When teammates ran next to James, he would quiz them on the songs that played. His teammates would guess the title of the song and then which movie the song came from. These quizzes had created an energetic atmosphere during the cross country season that James will be able bring to college life next year. Going to the University of Minnesota Duluth to study exercise science and possibly literature is the main plan once James graduates from high school. Since his race times are close to the competitive times, James also plans on running for the college’s cross country and track teams. For the rest of his high school running career, he plans on training in the winter and running on the boy’s track team in the spring, while adding onto all of his previous miles.

 

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Going the extra mile… Disney style