Heading into her fourth season on the team, Andover Girls Cross Country Captain Morgan Rooney ’17 already has two Nepsta Cross Country Championships under her belt. A four-year senior from Duluth, Minn., Rooney has been running cross-country since the seventh grade.
Rooney said, “I started [running] in seventh grade after I got cut from the basketball team… I found a lot of success in it, and I continued on. It’s just always been a really fun and integral part of my life that I’ve really enjoyed.”
Since joining the team at Andover, Rooney’s love for running has only grown because of the support of her teammates.
Rooney said, “I love spending time with my teammates and just running and chatting with them. It’s a really good release.”
Her passion for running and her connection with her teammates has guided Rooney through her captaincy, and she believes a team only operates as a unit when everyone is effectively communicating together.
Rooney said, “I think that it’s super important to get on a close level of connection. I check in with all the runners during practice, talk to people, say hi on the path to my teammates. It’s really the small things with such a big team that help make us a cohesive unit.”
“We have [a] team dinner every night, [which ensures that] the team is connected with not only me, [but] with each other, because it’s a really good aspect of making the team successful and that results when you have a successful bond with each other,” continued Rooney.
Being the only captain on such a large team can sometimes be difficult, but Rooney has embraced this challenge by becoming close with all of the runners and working with the other seniors on the team.
Rooney said, “I can lean on the support of the other Seniors on the team, which is really, really helpful… Being the main support system for so many girls with so many different levels of experience is a bit difficult, but I really enjoy the challenge and getting to know all the runners.”
Jessica Wang ’18 said, “Morgan has this amazing energy and spirit that brings the team together. Although cross-country is a big team, she’s been key to helping us become really close. She has this infectious spirit that gets everyone pumped, and she never fails to make us laugh.”
Rooney is also a great role model for teammates during practice and meets because of her strong work ethic and determination.
“Morgan puts a lot of effort into every workout, which inspires us to push ourselves to work harder. I get pretty nervous before races, but having her words in my head gives me motivation and confidence,” added Wang.
Head Coach Rebecca Hession said, “She has contributed to the team in meaningful ways since her Junior year. These contributions occur both in her efforts at practice and in races and through her commitment to creating a supportive team environment.”
This season, Rooney isn’t as focused on running as she has been before, but instead looks to support younger, less experienced girls on the team, according to Rooney.
She said, “I’m not too worried about my running performance this year. I want to be more into my role as a captain and support the other girls on the team. All the varsity runners come to preseason, and we all form plans to really help new runners integrate themselves into the team.”
Rooney looks to continue to support her teammates, and she hopes that with a strong line of communication and a basic foundation of respect, Andover can achieve its third consecutive Nepsta Championship.
Rooney said, “As a runner, I just really want to stay steady with how I’m doing, [and] not get injured. With that, my main goal for the team is to three-peat New England’s; that would be such a good dream for me, because we won my lower year [and] upper year, and I just really want to win my Senior year again.”
Editor’s Note: Jessica Wang is an Associate Video Editor for The Phillipian.