First Cross Country Meet in the Eyes of Two Stars: Devon Baggot and Eryca Fawkes


Photo Courtesy: @AcpeCross

ACP’s cross country team started their season strong, with multiple players 13 personal records. The sophomore girls finished second place behind Division 1 Champs Desert Vista, and the freshman/sophomore boys placed sixth. I was able to ask Eryca Fawkes, who ran the fastest girls time in school history on Saturday, and Devon Baggot, who is in the top 20 for the senior division, a couple questions about the first meet. 

Q: How was the first cross country meet, and how was it different from the meets last year?

Eryca:  It was nice. They separated us into heats each going two minutes apart. It was a lot bigger than last year. They changed the course around so people wouldn’t run into each other since last year you would run backward on the same path, and with the sessions and heats two minutes apart, it needed to be changed.

Devon:   The first meet was super exciting, and we were very grateful the season wasn’t cancelled from the coronavirus pandemic. At the Chandler Invitational, athletes were encouraged to wear masks when they were not racing; they were also recommended to leave after racing. The race followed a stagger-start system where athletes raced in waves separated by two minutes. The team did extremely well for the first meet, with 13 personal records and several other impressive achievements:

-Sophomore girls place 2nd/13 behind division 1 champs Desert Vista

-Eryca Fawkes runs fastest girls time in girls school history (3rd of 82)

-Lauren Harsen runs second fastest time in girls school history (4th of 82)

-Isabel Brady places 7th of 82

-Devon Baggot top 20 in senior division

-Freshmen boys place 6th/15

-Collin Ramey runs 6th fastest time in boys school history

Photo Courtesy: @AcpeCross

Q: How did the team prepare for the meet?

Eryca: We train everyday 5:45-7am Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturdays. We make sure we get good nutrition, hydration, and sleep.

Devon: We have been training since June, alternating between endurance runs, speed workouts, and and other core and hill training exercises.

Q: What kind of safety procedures are being proposed?

Eryca: When we go to practice, we are asked a survey by coaches (do you have a cough, sore throat, headache, etc. symptoms) and if we do, we must sit out or shouldn’t come to practice. We wear a mask when coming in to practice, wear it during warming up (doing dynamic stretches), take the masks off when we run, and then come back after run. We will put them back on while we do core and stretching or we distance six feet apart from each other. At the meet, we followed the same thing pretty much and wore masks, distanced, and no one received trophies or medals at the meet. The coaches would pick them up then bring them to practice to give to the athletes.

Devon: The coaches have done a great job at enforcing safety precautions during practice, such as social distancing and wearing a mask when we are not running. While nothing is certain this early in the season, tougher qualifications for state as well as location changes to meets have been proposed to ensure there is enough space between runners and spectators.

Q: What did you enjoy the most at the cross country meet?

Eryca: I enjoyed seeing my teammates improvement as well as my own because we worked for it. I also enjoyed seeing my friends from other schools.

Devon: Definitely greeting the girls’ team after the race and cheering on the boys!

Photo Courtesy: @AcpeCross

Q: What were the practices like before the cross country meet?

Eryca: In practice, we run three to six miles daily. There’s long runs, speed days, and just a mix of things. We do mile repeats or fartleks.  For example, you sprint for a minute then jog for a minute then do 5k pace for two minutes then repeat -any variation of that works so it could be 2 1 2 1, 3 2 1 2 3, etc.

Devon: In the days approaching the first meet, we took practices slightly easier, running about 20 miles that week. We ran more speed workouts than long runs, giving us more time for yoga and stretching.

Q: In your opinion, what were the highlights of the meet?

Eryca: The highlights of the meet were that Tumbleweed park has no hills, so it is a fairly easy course in comparison to other courses. That means the team did pretty well. I got third, Lauren Hansen got fourth, and Isabel Brady got seventh. Devon did well for senior – I think top 20.

Devon: The highlights would have to be just being able to run in a competitive setting again and the beautiful weather. We also had people visit from the senior sunrise to cheer us on, which was a nice surprise!

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to an athlete just starting their sports season this year?

Eryca: Eat well – carbs/grains (mostly complex), then vegetables & fruits, and fats are  important too. Sleep well because you’re growing, exercising, and learning, then try your hardest. If you’re fueling your body with nutrition and sleep, then all you need to worry about is the mental aspect of running because that truly is the hardest part.

Devon: Enjoy the process. You will not win every time, and that is okay! Sports are about working to become the best athlete you can be, as well as having fun alongside your teammates. Learn to grow from your successes and failures, and you will have a much more enjoyable season. Good luck!

Q: What is your favorite thing about your team?

Eryca: My favorite thing about my team is that they work hard, and we all push each other. I’m happy to see my friends in the morning even though I’m tired.

Devon: Hands down, the runners and coaches. Everyone is so encouraging, no matter the skill level or experience. The coaches want us to have the best experience possible, and they push us to perform at our best!

Great job, Knights! Continue the hard work!