The following is my cross country speech for our year-end banquet. Enjoy!
Hey guys, my name is John Riker. I want to start off by giving thanks to God for giving me the gift to run, to my caring coaches, to my supportive teammates, to my awesome family, and to the entire Wootton XC community. I love you guys.
Coming into high school, I had one main goal- winning states. That goal never seemed closer than after counties my junior year, when I ran the best time of my career and I believed that I could challenge for that coveted state title.
But States did not go to plan. I finished in 39th place, and afterward I was so distraught that Coach Buxton had to put my sweatpants on for me. I was disappointed that day, but even more so in the coming months when I wondered if I’d ever get back to the top level. In my cross country journal, I concluded junior year with my main takeaway- “cross country isn’t a story you write, it’s a story you live.”
It’s a nice thought, but I’ve learned that the times and places aren’t really the story at all. The story is your attitude through everything, and how cross country changes you as a person. And over my four years on the team, being a part of this cross country team has changed me significantly, and for the better.
To my fellow seniors, you have inspired me and I want you to take a moment to appreciate all that you have accomplished these four years. To the younger runners, I urge you all to put that physical and mental commitment into this sport, and to write your own story. Thank you.