Over the next several days, I will be introducing members of our senior class. This year, we have invited each senior to address their squad mates at the conclusion of our daily team meeting. Two seniors will speak each day about what being a part of HCXC has meant to them. My intention is to use this blog space to capture some of what each individual said when it was their turn to have the stage. I think it important that, as last year, this blog captures not just my voice but the symphony of perspectives and personalities that make up our team. We start today with the two seniors that spoke at yesterday’s meeting: Mac O’Donnell and Nick Tandle. The format I will follow over the next several days will be to write a short introduction about each senior, followed by a brief summary of their remarks:
Mac O’Donnell came out for Cross Country his freshman year, and has been with us ever since, even though there were periods when he could not run due to health concerns. So humble and self-effacing is Mac that I was not even aware of the full extent of the challenges he overcame until I heard him address his teammates last evening. Mac is a well-liked member of the team who works hard. I expect him to make huge improvements in his final year.
In his address, Mac spoke to his teammates about how much he missed running when he had to be held out for a season due to a medical condition doctors discovered. He had to have surgery to address this issue, and was finally able to rejoin his teammates as a junior. He reported that he loves being part of the team and urged his teammates to enjoy the experience.
Nick Tandle is also a four year member of our team. Nick started out with modest credentials – he finished 31st at conference his freshman year as the team’s fifth man. Last year, he narrowly missed earning all-conference honors at the JV level. His biggest improvement, though, came during the winter between cross country and track. In horrible conditions, Nick thrived. By midway through indoor season, he had his breakthrough race, running 9:53 for 3200 at a meet hosted by Proviso West. This was a significant achievement, and one we hope portends more to come.
Nick spoke to his teammates about how the older members of the team looked out for him when he was a freshman. He recalled a practice at Waterfall Glen where Neil Pedersen, then a senior, approached him, offered him a sincere greeting, and then took him around to meet other members of the team, including Rajan Khanna, Mike Korompilas, and Jack Feldman. This was the beginning of an experience that would allow Nick to create bonds with guys he will never forget. He urged the current group of freshman to ‘subscribe to the program’ specifically for these bonds. He closed by inviting any of his teammates to eat lunch with him 5th period and by suggesting that the team can “pay tribute to past leaders by creating a climate of inclusivity.”