The Rocket Flame

No eXCuses


Cross Country is not a sport to be taken lightly: many runners will run six days a week for almost five months.  Working hard is something that every Cross Country runner knows well. But with Districts, and States coming up, some may be working for almost a month longer. 

Going to States has always been a dream for Hailey Embree (11). Embree joined Cross Country when she was a freshman and has worked for three years towards her dreams. She is making her dreams come true this year with some very impressive times. 

“I went to all the pre-season practices and I did stuff on my own too, such as running around my development,” said Embree.

Hard work is what it takes to do well in this sport and this has allowed Embree to compete well and place at many meets this year. At the Enos Yeager Invitational she placed 13th out of almost 200 runners. Based off of the performance Embree was hopeful for the upcoming season.

“I hope good. I mean it’s a little bit shorter, but hopefully good,” Embree said.

And that’s exactly what she did.  A few weeks later, at the Clear Spring invitational, finishing with an impressive time of 21:55 she placed 3rd out of hundreds of runners. 

Another runner getting awards this season is Claire Kriner (12).  Kriner has battled for many years triumphing and overcoming adversity.

“I was having issues with my hip. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to run or not,” said Kriner,” You just kind of have to push through it.”

Kriner has been battling with a hip injury for years, but that has not stopped her from putting up amazing times. She credits adrenaline for pushing her through every race and allowing her to compete. Her future races will depend on her hip injury. 

“I do hip exercises basically every night to help with my hip”, said Kriner. “Before meets I try to visualize the course and then when I’m running I remind myself of the little things.”  

Experience goes a long way in Cross Country and Kriner uses that to her advantage. She is able to utilize tangents on the course from her past experience, cutting seconds off of her time, and in Cross Country any time is valuable.

Both runners are competing in Districts next week with 10 other runners with the hopes of making it to the State running meet in Hershey, PA. Three teams of five to seven make it to States and then 15 other individual runners. The District race is set to take place on Saturday, October 26. 

One Last Run


Being involved in many activities inside and outside of school can be difficult to manage, but that does not keep Jarrett Iverson (12) from making time to better his performance in running. Not only does he run for Cross Country, but also is a part of the school’s marching band and his church’s worship team. Having done this for all four years of his high school career, Iverson has learned a lot about responsibility, and his experience helps him motivate his teammates.


“When I played football in middle school, I realized I wasn’t really good at the football part but was good at the running part,” said Iverson.


Iverson first joined the James Buchanan Cross Country team his freshman year. Having never run that much before, his body wasn’t used to that kind of physical activity. He was barely able to keep up with his team members in summer training and the first few weeks of the season until his body fully adjusted.


“This year was kind of a rebuilding year for us. We lost a lot of seniors […] and also a good coach last year. So with a new coach, Mrs. Grove, and with a lot of new members, it was certainly a building year this year,” said Iverson.


Having a new coach and new members there was a need for more extra motivation and teaching. During his four years of running, Iverson had to face obstacles such as learning proper form and breathing technique. As team members would face these kinds of obstacles, he would use his prior experience to teach the team how to face and overcome them.

In the midst of running the Clear Spring Invitational, Jarrett Iverson (12) pushes on to try and pass his opponent.

“Leadership-wise I think I have a sense of moral responsibility during the cross country season to keep my grades up and motivate my team in and out of school,” said Iverson.

Iverson has not only improved his running technique and form over his high-school career, but also has improved his leadership abilities, responsibility, and mental fortitude. Having to balance all of his activities on top of school work was a large obstacle, but helped him in gaining these skills. Iverson wants his team to improve in these areas as well.


“Running is 10% physical and 90% mental, so if you’re trying to run better, yes you should focus on your diet and form and running and everything, but more than that, you need to focus on perseverance and staying mentally strong,” said Iverson.


Iverson believes that his success is due to his mental perseverance and fortitude, not just his running ability. Anybody can run, but the hard part is telling yourself that you can run for that long without stopping.


“…I can only see [the team] improving next year with Coach Stan and Mrs. Grove getting more experience and all the underclassmen knowing how the sport works now,” said Iverson.


Nearing the end of his 2018 season, Iverson was one of five to make districts. He has high hopes for the team next year and believes that they can only improve from where they are now.

The Secret Behind Distance Running

Getting up and running a 5k is not as easy as it looks, but the James Buchanan Cross Country team has it figured out.


Rachel Kimmel

James Buchanan girls start their race against the Boiling Spring bubblers on Tuesday Sept. 19.

Each runner lines their foot up along the white line stretching across an open field. Everything is silent, except for the cicadas buzzing in the distance. They brace themselves as the official raises both the orange flag and gun.




The gun is fired and the flag falls down as the runners start their long trek up and down hills and valleys and through forest and fields.


This is just the start of any three-mile race that the boys and girls cross country team had to run this fall.


The Cross Country team has successfully completed eight dual meets this month, as well as three invitationals. There have been numerous personal records from each runner and six boys and four girls from the team that has qualified for the district meet coming up in October. But none of this would have been possible without all the work and effort each runner has put into his or her race.


Before the race season even began, the team was already running. Jerome Staniszewski, head coach of the boys’ and girls’ Cross Country team, stated, “Throughout the summer we trained three days a week.”


Voluntary though it was, many of the runners showed up, giving them a leg up for this season. Their training consisted of a variety of running such as distance, speed work, fartleks, hills and interval training.  


“Even though the race is only 3.1 miles, we want to get a lot of miles,” says Staniszewski.


Each type of training improves the runner’s ability and endurance, which is all needed when racing.

Rachel Kimmel
Casey Dorsey runs the last few yards of his race.

Not only do the runners train physically, they also train mentally.


“There’s a large mental aspect to running,” Staniszewski explains as he goes into further detail about how to coach mental toughness.


Ryan Haylett, the assistant coach, is the mastermind behind coaching mental toughness. He leads the team in talks about ignoring pain and staying focused on their running form, which in turn helps them run better.  


“They’ll have us write write-ups about the races and different papers to keep us focused,” says Kaiden Stinson, 12, one of the senior runners who has participated in the sport all four years of his high school career.


By writing about their races, the runners are able to reflect on their performance and determine what they need to do to get better. Haylett will also have them write other write-ups about who inspires and motivates them.


Haylett also persuaded the team to do the steel commitment.


“He’s doing this thing that every time he takes a shower, the last minute he turns the water on ice cold,” says Stinson as he describes Haylett’s steel commitment, which is meant to help develop mental toughness that can be transitioned into racing.

Rachel Kimmel
(Right to left) Brandon Boyer, Jacob Asbach and Kaden Stinson watch the finish of the boys race.

From the efforts of physical and mental training, when the team has to line up to run any race, they always go in knowing they have worked hard and they should have nothing to fear because 3.1 miles has become a piece of cake.


Navigate Left
  • Pinning to the Top


    Pinning to the Top

  • Purpose In Preseason


    Purpose In Preseason

  • Swimming the 100 meter Freestyle, Alyssa Young (11) catches her breath.


    Swim Season Gallery 2020

  • New Coaches, New Attitude


    New Coaches, New Attitude

  • Kylee Long puts on her swim cap before her first race.


    The Setbacks Make for a Better Comeback

  • Whats Your Number Mean?


    What’s Your Number Mean?

  • After traveling out of bounds, the ball rests in the referees hands before being passed into play.


    Tip-Off of the Big Season Ahead

  • Taking off,  Broden Green (10) keeps his place in the lead.


    Boys’ and Girls’ Track & Field First Home Match of the Season

  • Owen Cooper (10) stretches out before track practice.


    Spring Sports

  • Tip-Off to the Season


    Tip-Off to the Season

Navigate Right
Activate Search
Cross Country