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The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

Cross country runner overcomes setback

Sophomore Noah Johnson reflects on community, benefits from team
Erica Deutsch
As he practices before his next meet, sophomore Noah Johnson puts one foot in front of the other. Johnson experienced a minor injury earlier this year and is preparing to run in his next meet at districts this week. The teams runners start practice at 7 a.m. every day.

As he makes his fifth lap around the track, cross country runner and sophomore Noah Johnson practices for his next meet – a place where community and competition come together in an event where he said “nothing else compares.”

Johnson had been interested in cross country, as he had run before in sixth grade and decided to give it a try during his seventh grade year. He began progressing over the next couple of years. He will compete this week, Oct. 13, in the District meet.

“I wasn’t the best runner by any means in seventh and eighth grade,” Johnson said. “It took off midway through ninth grade, and I got a lot faster.”

Earlier this year Johnson suffered from an injury — one he was unaware of at first. He went to get an MRI, which revealed that he had a stress fracture.

“After the MRI, it turns out that I just pulled a muscle in my quads,” Johnson said. “So it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

Even though it was classified as a minor injury, Johnson still could not participate in running for about a month and a half. During this time he still showed up to his team practices. He said he intends to be extra careful to make certain his minor injury does not turn into a major one.

I think he worked harder than most of the boys so he caught up really quick.

— senior Layne Sheely

“It felt a lot longer than it was, (the injury) and I just stayed on the sidelines,” Johnson said. “(I would) get up early, to be at practice, and be out there hanging out with my friends, knowing that they can go out there and run.”

During his recovery, he had his team, coaches, and family to support him through it.

“My team was always there for me, and my coach was always there to help,” Johnson said. “And the trainer’s here for ice, and other recovery stretching techniques.”

Johnson’s practices start at 7 a.m. during the week, and includes a 20-minute warm up. During this time, they do some jogging, resistance span stretches, and static and dynamic stretches.

“All of this is very important, so you don’t get hurt like I did,” Johnson said. “You need to listen to your body. If you’re hurting, stop. Make sure you do extra stretching and the full warm ups to cool down.”

Sophomore Landon Byrom, one of Johnson’s teammates, said Johnson helps and encourages at practice.

“He’s always working hard every day, and he always encourages his teammates and makes us better,” Byrom said. “He’s an amazing runner and always listens to the coach’s instructions. He’s just always there for us, and he’s just an overall good guy.”

According to Johnson, a major aspect of cross country is discipline.

“Probably the best thing about cross country is the discipline it builds,” he said. “Getting up every morning at like 6 or 7:30 a.m. and running multiple miles, knowing you have to get up the next day and do the same thing, goes on and on. It has been an overall completely positive impact on my life.”

He’s always working hard every day and he’s just always there for us. He’s just an overall good guy.

— sophomore Landon Byrom

Cross country coach Jackie Crisp said he also recognized Johnson’s commitment to the team and his comeback.

“He is a very hard worker who is dedicated to being the best cross country runner he can be,” Crisp said. “He has grown as a runner in the last year by committing to his craft and running all summer, going to running camps, and working his way up to the varsity team. He has overcome some setbacks this year, but is gaining his stride back just in time for the District Meet.”

Johnson said he aspires to achieve a goal of his this Friday, Oct. 13.

“In the beginning of the year, before I got hurt, my goals were a lot more ambitious,” Johnson said. “Then after I was out for a month and a half, I came back and my goal is next week – at districts I want to get under 17 minutes in the 5k.”

Something Johnson values most about cross country are his teammates who support him along the way.

“The running is fun and all – but the team itself is the best reward,” Johnson said. “You have a group of like at least 30 friends on the team. Everyone’s accepting. You can just be you. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. And there’s always a helping hand if you need help studying, learning, or tips for running. Nothing else compares.”

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About the Contributor
Erica Deutsch, Feature Editor
Erica Deutsch, originally from Orlando, Florida, is a junior at Prosper High School. This is her second year working for Eagle Nation Online and she serves as the feature and entertainment editor. She adores photography and hopes to create a positive impact with her writing and podcasts. Outside of school, she enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, trying new baking recipes, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
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  • R

    Ryan ReynoldsOct 12, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Awesome job Noah!! Way to bounce back and stay determined to reach your goals!!