Phillips Faces Change

Sophomore Alexa Phillips learns to adjust from a team sport to an individual sport.

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Moving from one sport to the next can be very physically and mentally challenging for an athlete to do. Sophomore Alexa Phillips depends on running to help her prepare for the upcoming competitive cheerleading season.

“By doing cross country, I am hoping to improve my cardiovascular endurance and my running abilities to help me come October,” Phillips said.

For Phillips, all her life she has strictly been committed to cheerleading, however, going into high school she knew she wanted to have an open mind about trying new sports. Within her two years at Antioch Community High School, she has gone out of her comfort zone and tried new sports such as soccer and cross country. Even though moving from cheerleading to cross country has been a very challenging process, Phillips is happy with her decision. 

“In all honesty, moving from cheerleading to cross country has been the best decision for me,” Phillips said. “I am staying extremely active, running at least three miles everyday, while also training and preparing for when I try out for the competitive season for cheer.”

Although Phillips recognizes the similarities through the three sports such as endurance, mental toughness and hard work, she loves the differences that come along with them. 

“Cross country, cheerleading and soccer are all fairly different,” Phillips said. “In cross country, it is unquestionably more individual because although you are running with a team, it’s your running capabilities and strength that gets you through it. Whereas soccer and cheer, you are strictly working together with your team to accomplish one goal.”

According to Phillips, staying positive while running can be a challenge. It can be beneficial to have an encouraging teammate when struggling; this teammate can also make the sport more enjoyable overall. For Phillips, this teammate is sophomore Juliana Gonzalez. Phillips and Gonzalez are a team when it comes to running. 

“Alexa is someone who makes me feel good about myself after a hard race,” Gonzalez said. “We cheer each other on and I think that makes us better runners.” 

Phillips claims there are many reasons why she is the way she is when it comes to sports and life in general. 

“Success is what motivates me,” Phillips said. “Knowing the fact that my hard work and perseverance will help me achieve a greater goal is what keeps me going.” 

Not only does Phillips love her decision to run cross country, but her decision had a positive impact on the team as a whole. Cross country coach Christopher Bailey had positive things to say about Phillips’ first year joining the team.

“Alexa is doing fantastic for someone who just came out for cross country,” Bailey said. “She has adjusted very well and is never afraid to get in and run the milage and the workouts necessary to get herself better, and she is still working herself up in terms of pecking order on the list.”

Phillips brings all of the important qualities to the team. Her drive and willingness for not only herself, but for her team makes her an important piece of the puzzle this year. 

“Alexa is a very quiet but self-motivated type of girl,” Bailey said. “She shows up to practice everyday, does what she’s supposed to, she doesn’t complain, you never hear her trying to get out of anything. She does exactly what she is supposed to do by working extremely hard and does it without any complaints. She’s the kid everyone wants to have.”

In her teammates and coaches eyes, Phillips is a team player. She’s a friend inside and outside the sport and an overall hard worker. Often times, she is extremely hard on herself for someone who may have no reason to be. 

“Being too hard on myself is something I really struggle with,” Phillips said. “I tend to psychologically beat myself up over mistakes that have minimal consequences, or see other people’s ‘dumb’ mistakes as understandable, but not [with] my own [mistakes].” 

While being hard on yourself can be difficult to push through, having people there to encourage you to do the best you can be, can be the difference. 

“My family and friends inspire me in my life,” Phillips said. “They motivate me and support me, and are always willing to help me out and do what they can for my benefit.” 

Although Phillips faces many challenges during cross country, she uses her knowledge with the help of the one’s around her to get through the challenges she faces. Phillips hopes to bring what she’s learned and experienced individually, back to the competitive season this winter for the cheer team.