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The Student News Site of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School

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The HyBreeze

Cross Country is One Hill of a Sport

Megan Macy
Girls Varsity & Jv – First Place at Gilmour Invitational

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Cross country is one of the most challenging sports not just physically, but mentally.  This sport is designed for the survival of the (mentally) fittest and it’s about stickability as well as learning to suffer.

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights cross-country team has conquered those challenges and is on a roll this 2023 season, coming out as the “surprise” team.

The team consists of 60 runners along with head coach, Bob Schank and assistant coach, Cy Levkanich.



Practices are five days a week with an invitational meet every Saturday, with the exception of the Gilmour Paul Primeau Invitational which was on Friday, September 29.

Olivia Naffah, senior and jv runner, spoke about the practices, giving a quick description of what each day looks like. 

“Mondays are long runs and they are super fun; you basically get to catch up with your friends for two hours while getting in a run.  Tuesdays and Thursdays can be rough because they are workout days, but they are beneficial.  Wednesdays are our pool and yoga days, which is a necessary break for runners to stretch. Fridays are pre-meet days and they’re like Mondays only a lot shorter,” says Naffah.

Speaking of practices, the Tuesday and Thursday practices can range through a variety of workouts.  Many runners say these workouts are a lot harder than the actual race, which is 3.1 miles.  

Kasaundra Pindor, junior and varsity runner, says her favorite workout is the “ladders on the track,”.  The ladders on the track workout consists of running 1000m, 800m, 400m, 200m, and to finish it off, a 100m.  This workout is like going down a ladder… only it’s running shorter distances around the track.

Tyler Edlind, junior and jv runner, says his favorite workout is the “whistle drills, especially on hilly areas”.   Whistle drills are a mix of certain periods of fast running with certain periods of slower running.

Having a good mindset when running not only the practices but also the race, is really important considering the challenge of the sport.



The cross country meets are held on Saturdays, and to kick off the season, the team competes at the night race, also known as the Riverside Night Invitational.

Each race is 3.1 miles and the team competes at 8 meets throughout the season, not including the district meet, in which only the top runners get to compete.

Speaking of top runners, on the girls team, Marianna Pizem, a senior and varsity runner, broke the school record with a time of 18:35.8.  On top of that, she ended up breaking her own record with an incredible time of 18:09.0.

Mari Pizem – School Record Breaker (Megan Macy)

Our bees and ladybees have done an incredible job this season, with both varsity teams qualifying for the regional meet on Saturday, October 28.

Take a look at some of the various meet results below:

Saturday, August 26 – Riverside Kickoff Classic Night Race

Boy’s Varsity: 8th Place

Girls Varsity: 5th Place

Boy’s Open: 4th Place

Girl’s Open: 2nd Place

Saturday, September 2 – Ashland Cross Country Invitational

Boy’s Varsity: 10th Place

Girls Varsity: 1st Place

Saturday, September 16 – Spartan Boardman Invitational

Boy’s Varsity: 2nd Place

Girls Varsity: 2nd Place

Saturday, October 7 – Medina “Milt Place” XC Festival

Boy’s Varsity: 6th Place

Girls Varsity: 8th Place

Boy’s Open: 7th Place

Girl’s Open: 8th Place

Saturday, October 14 – Suburban League Championships

Boy’s Varsity: 2nd Place

Girls Varsity: 2nd Place

Saturday, October 21 – Northeast District Meet

Boy’s Varsity: 5th Place (Qualifiers for Regionals)

Girls Varsity: 7th Place (Qualifiers for Regionals)


The Team

With 60 runners on the team, things can get pretty chaotic.

Gabe Krenisky, Jonah Siley, Arjun Sheth (Braily Collard)

The BBHHS cross-country team is known for their energy and ability to uplift others.

“The team is like a family.  We’re supportive and really close because we are a smaller team.  We spend so much time together and get to know each other so well, we end up getting really close while building life-long friendships.  Everyone is supportive no matter what, because of how difficult cross country can be,” says Naffah.

In order for the team to spend time with each other outside of practice, they host different activities throughout the season to bond with each other.  

When the races begin, every Thursday the seniors on the team host pasta parties.  It’s a great way for the runners to come together and let a little stress off their shoulders, while they fuel their bodies with pasta for their race on Saturday.

Other activities consist of things like big sis little sis, which is something the girl’s cross country team does. The upperclassmen have an underclassman “sister”, and on race days, they give each other little gifts. There’s also the pancake breakfast that the team holds during summer miles, which is practice during the summer, but without the coaches.

Amy Tytko, freshman and varsity runner, says, “I like the big sis, little sis the best because you can get to know somebody more than you might if you just talked during practices and such, but if it’s the whole team and not just the girls, then it’s definitely the pasta parties.”.

Pasta Party (Maansi Mahalaha)

Although it isn’t a “popular” sport, “the running alone makes it worth it, and you’ll make friends to make the bad days more bearable,” says Edlind.

All in all, the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School cross-country team has done an incredible job this season, and can’t wait to see what next season has to offer.


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About the Contributor
Leah Canter
Leah Canter, Staff Editor
Leah, a junior and third-year staff writer for the BBH HyBreeze, is a mental health advocate who loves traveling.

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