Then, after the Sectional, some disciplinary problems on the team (none relating to me) required a new 7th varsity runner, so we had a run-off to determine who would run in the Regional. I won the run-off (with my best-ever time and my only sub-17 time: 16:57), so I went to the Regional, which our team won (earning me my varsity letter).
I loved running cross country; I liked the courses (especially those that went through woods and up a lot of hills). I liked getting out and running and running and running with my friends. I liked the runners' high. In fact, having made the varsity team, I had decided that as a sophomore, if there were conflicts between soccer and cross-country, I would run. But when I went to church camp and thus wasn't eligible for the first meet (and played soccer instead), so the coach was mad at me and instead of talking to me, he bawled out my sister, that was it.
I think that cross country coach would be surprised to know that I'm still running these days (and loving it).