It’s a new year, with new faces, a new asst. coach, and new attitudes. Cal cross-country has been changing pretty dramatically in the last decade, and this year in particular the changes have been remarkable. We have the biggest cross-country roster that we’ve ever had, and undoubtedly the most talented. There are 10 or 11 men battling for a top 7 spot, each with a legitimate shot to make a scoring top 5. This type of competitiveness within the team has never been present, and I attribute it to the type of guys that have come onto the team. I come to practice each day more excited than ever because I am surrounded by people who are dedicated and motivated to becoming more than just what is expected.
In the past, the most frustrating aspect of team sports for me has always been lack of effort or discipline within a given team. For instance, in a game of soccer one could have an amazing game yet still lose because of a lack of preparation or effort from other players on the team. I have always held myself to a high standard, and I expect nothing less from those around me. When there are people on the team less dedicated or motivated than myself, I can’t help but get frustrated. What my teammates do reflect on me, and vice versa. Part of why I started running is because it allows some selfishness through individual success, and I was able to avoid worrying about what teammates did (or worse, didn’t do). But I’ve found that the success that I achieve on my own is much less satisfying than the success achieved through a team; which brings me back to this Cal team. This new team is by far the most motivated that I’ve been on. There is an atmosphere of accountability and dedication that has formed itself through competitiveness, and on a personal level it has motivated me to a point that wouldn’t have been obtainable on my own. I get the sense that I am not alone with this newly formed passion, and I love the culture that has been created. To add to the positives, our team consists of about three quarters underclassmen, and they are all pushing the older guys and each other to new levels.
This year I’m looking forward to seeing this team make a statement, but even more so I’m excited to see how this team continues to develop. I only have one year left after this one, and I know that my time here will still only be the tip of the iceberg when looking at what is to come. I just hope that in that time I can instill as much drive and motivation as possible into this emerging team, so that when they are representing Cal as a top distance running program that I can say I contributed to their success.
Look for results this weekend from Virginia, where Chris Walden, Matt Carpowhich, Jp Slater, Renaud Poizat, Augustin Alva, Jordan Locklear, and Simon Schmidt lead the Bears into a new era of distance running at Cal!

Go Bears!
-Collin Jarvis.