The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

Cross-country shines

Talented coach, team stand behind successes
South’s cross-country team experienced an amazing season.

South High’s 2023 cross-country season was indeed phenomenal with its girls’ team placing first in the district and the boys’ second behind Omaha Burke. But behind these amazing achievements also stand a talented coach and team.

A lot of students say cross-country wouldn’t be what it is now without coach John Tripp. However, Tripp said running wasn’t something he was originally interested in.

Coaching since about 2007, Tripp said his favorite part of the job is the students. “Overall, it’s been a lot of fun.” Even as a coach, Tripp said he has tricks that motivate him to keep running. “Strangely I had a friend who said a lot of the times you don’t want to do it, but you feel better afterwards; I think that’s true. I’ve also had someone tell me his day was black and white, and after he ran, his body came back to color.”

Although cross-country seems more like an individual sport, that’s not necessarily the case for South’s team. “There’s always something about cross-country that has a real family-like atmosphere,” Tripp said. “I think it’s because everyone goes through the same toughness of the race, but also because our boys and girls are together.”

Tripp said he thinks that cross-country is helpful to students in many ways. “Because difficult things build character – and cross-country is difficult – I feel like we are doing a good job making champions of character. You go through tough things, so you become tougher. It gives you a little bit of a different point of view.” Some tips Tripp has for incoming runners are to give yourself a lot of time and start with three days a week of conditioning for 30 minutes. Being stubborn and not wanting to give up are important as well.

Sophomore Christopher Morales-Jimenes was also part of this year’s cross-country season. Although he was only there for the second half of the season, he was still able to experience a lot of great things. He said that the season was nice and helped him build his stamina. He also said he made a lot of memories and met new people. One of Morales’ favorite races was the very last meet since South won that race.

Morales described cross-country meets as “very tense, very quiet at the beginning, but once it progresses, the race turns livelier.”

Something South runners agree on is that the team’s sportsmanship is amazing. Morales said that team members are “good at pushing you to do your best and motivating you; they bring good vibes.”

Sophomore Juan Moreno added that team members were very friendly; “they helped keep me motivated.”

Moreno said that it isn’t just the sport itself that impacts the students but also their amazing coach. Tripp “is caring and wants the best from all of us,” Moreno added.

Ascencio added that Tripp was “really supportive and encouraging. I remember my freshman year; I was one of the worst on the team, and he walked with me and talked to me. He helped me and motivated me.”

Some helpful hints team members gave to cross-country newcomers this coming fall are to always bring your energy and “make sure you work your hardest,” Morales said.

“Push through the pain, and never give up,” Moreno added.




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