Leading at the Line

Senior and three-time captain Addison Lane is trying to lead her team back to the IHSA State Finals in November.
Leading at the Line

Leader, vocal, outstanding. All of these words are frequently used by teammates and coaches to describe senior and three-time captain Addison Lane. Lane has been a varsity member of the girls cross country team for the last four years and is excited to lead her team into what will be her final cross country season as a Sequoit. 

Lane has been running cross country since fifth grade and has had a very successful career up to this point. At the middle school level, she was a state qualifier all three years and placed in the top ten at the state level in seventh and eighth grade. She has been a four-year varsity member at the high school level, a three-time captain, and was a state qualifier last season. Lane also grew up as a swimmer and credits her family for her passion for running. 

“My brother was the main push for me to start running because he started running cross country and track in fifth grade,” Lane said. “I always looked up to him and wanted to be like him, so we went from swimmers to runners.” 

The girls cross country team has big goals this year, and they know what they have to do to achieve them. With the experience of qualifying for state as a team last year, they want to make it again, but place much higher than last year. 

“Our goal is to make it to state, but improve on that and place higher as a team,” Lane said. “Last year we went for the experience, and did not run that well. This year we want to place well and are motivated to place better.” 

When a team is coming off a very successful season like the one the girls had last year, it can place a lot of pressure to replicate or surpass last season’s performance. Every varsity team member is returning for this year and the girls have set their sights on placing top-15 at state in November. Junior Abby Sooley knows there are expectations placed on the team, but they are trying to tune them out and motivate each other. 

“We are hoping to make it back to state and place better than last year,” Sooley said. “We have been trying to run together, and push our teammates harder at practice.” 

The added pressure of heightened expectations also comes along with harder practices and workouts designed to push them harder than they have been before. The hardest physical part about cross country is getting into shape, a feat that very few can accomplish before the end of the season. Being able to avoid injuries is key, as is any sport but running so much can lead to heightened risks of injury. 

“Injuries in cross country happen so often,” Lane said. “You just need to be responsible and take care of them before they become a serious problem.”

Some may argue that cross country is the hardest mental sport there is. There are not any other sports without a break in the middle of the game, and running by yourself mid-race can have a lot of negative thoughts. The girls think that this is one of the things that they can improve upon, and that will help them complete what they want to accomplish. 

“Something we can work on is just complaining, when it gets too hard we just seem to give up or complain,” Lane said.

Every good team needs a good leader, and Lane has gone above and beyond to be the best teammate and captain she can be for her teammates. It is very rare for someone to be named a three-time captain; you must be well respected and trusted among your teammates while also continuing your success on the course. Head coach Christopher Bailey knows how hard of an accomplishment that is and is grateful he has had someone he can trust to lead the team the right way. 

“Her experience and leadership is so valuable,” Bailey said. “We know that the girls team will be ready to race because Addison makes sure the team is prepared to compete.”

A good leader also knows how to walk the fine line between good criticism versus bossing others around. Nobody likes being told what to do, but sometimes if a teammate is slacking off and not running as hard as they should be, just telling them to get it together can help. Lane’s teammates and coaches appreciate how vocal she is, she is not going to back down to anybody and if you are not doing what you’re supposed to she will let you know about it. Assistant Coach Ryan Hlinak knows how important her voice is to the team, and her teammates respond well to it. 

“She is very vocal, she is not afraid to tell it like it is, and she does it in a nice way,” Hlinak said. “The girls know she means it for the good of the team, and they listen to her.”

Going into her final season, the coaches heavily rely on Lane for her experience. Having been on varsity for four years and participating in every kind of meeting you can at the varsity level, they know that the best way for others to learn is just to follow in her footsteps. She leads by example and knows exactly how practices and meets are supposed to function. 

“She has been part of this program for four years, and understands the ins and outs of the competition,” Bailey said. “She makes sure the girls are ready to run, and the younger girls know they can depend on her.” 

With hopes of lasting memories and one final state run in mind, Lane hopes to close the year on a high note and accomplish her goals. Lane has not decided if she wants to continue her running career in college but wants to major in sports medicine or sports management.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Wolfe
Tyler Wolfe, Tom Tom Staff
Tyler Wolfe is a junior and this is his first year on the Tom Tom staff. Wolfe is a varsity track and cross country runner and in his free time enjoys spending time with friends.

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