CDH students try new sports for the first time

Elise Newmark, Staff Writer

Trying something new can be daunting but rewarding. At the start of each sports season, students step out of their comfort zones to explore something different in athletics. This fall, juniors Bella Brondum ’24 and Katie Chestovich ’24  tried cross country for the first time.

Brondum has been a part of other sports in the past, such as girls swim and dive and volleyball, but this year, she wanted to try something new. She was inspired to join cross country because she wanted to improve her running skills. 

“I was looking for something new in the fall, and I have never been into running, so I figured doing it every day would help me get better at it,” said Brondum.

Brondum’s experience on a new team has also been a great way for her to meet new people and go outside of her comfort zone. 

“It’s been really fun. I’ve gotten to meet new people and practice leadership. I have really enjoyed it,” she said. 

The sport isn’t the only change in Brondum’s season: this is her first year leading as an upperclassman on a team. 

“It’s been really fun. I have never been on the older end of a team, having been a freshman or sophomore with upperclassmen, but, now, I get to be an upperclassman with freshmen and sophomores on the team,” said Brondum.

Her biggest challenge so far has been long runs, but the positive encouragement from teammates has helped her get through. 

“The biggest challenges have been the practices and long runs and trying to get through those physically,” Brondum said. “Having teammates to run with that encourage you to push yourself is really helpful.”

Brondum’s favorite part of being on the team is the feeling after a race. 

“It’s really rewarding to know that I just ran that far,” she said

The coaches are always trying to build growth and improvement with everyone on the team, regardless of level. This makes it a positive experience for all runners because everyone is encouraged to do their best. 

“My coaches are always really encouraging,” said Brondum.“Regardless of what pace you are at, they always try to help you get better.”

Although joining cross country as a beginner has been a challenge for Brodnum, she has found ways to overcome these initial challenges. 

“It has been difficult because running at any level can be hard, but I have found a lot of people who are at my pace. It’s a great sport if you are looking to try something new because there is always going to be someone you can run with,” said Brondum.

Brondum is very grateful that she did cross country and recommends that anyone who is interested in trying a new sport should definitely join. 

“Definitely go for it. I am really glad I did cross country. You won’t regret it. Regardless of what level you are at, you will be able to find someone who can help you. With encouraging teammates, it will go very well,” Brondum said. 

Katie Chestovich ’24 also began cross country this year. In the past, soccer has been her usual fall sport. Her favorite part of being on the team is the new bonds and friendships that she had formed. 

“My favorite part of being new to the team is creating bonds that are quickly made. Running is hard and having people to talk with and create bonds with makes it really enjoyable and fun,” she said. 

The team’s coaching strategies have been great for new runners. Coach Chris Babcok starts new members slowly with short runs, while gradually building them up as running becomes easier. This makes the transition more enjoyable as new members start with easier runs, and get into harder runs as they grow in strength 

“Coach Chris Babcock is really great at helping new members adjust. He starts you out with short runs until it becomes easy. You progress as the season moves on and get stronger,” said Chestovich.

Like Brondum, Chestovich is glad she joined cross country. She encourages everyone to not be scared to try something new, and to go for it. 

“I don’t usually like change but I am so glad I tried something new. To anyone wanting to join or not sure about joining, I would just tell you to give it a shot,” said Chestovich.

Both Chestovich and Brondum have enjoyed their time on cross country this fall. It was a way for both of them to step outside of their comfort zones.

The encouragement between teammates was essential to Brondum and Chestovich’s positive experience and the team’s welcoming environment.