Foreign exchange students doing cross country this year

Stevie Micheke, senior, is running at an event at Raymond Peculiar middle school. He is a foreign exchange student from Kenya. His school at Kenya had a cross country club. He did cross country for two years now, and he runs 9-10 miles a day. Running is a very popular sport in Kenya.

Jordan Withers, Reporter

Two foreign exchange students are running cross country this year.

Helmi Vuorimaa, senior, is from Finland, and Stevie Micheke, senior, is from Kenya.

“Cross country here in the U.S. is different because we have more practice and we run longer distances,” Vuorimaa said about the differences between cross country here and back in Finland.

It is Vuorimaa’s first time running cross country, but she has done track in the past. She runs at least one to two miles a day. Her favorite part about running cross country is seeing her friends and the social aspect of it.

The worst part is the distance of running she has to do.

“Compared to home, the cross country team is much bigger and more competitive.” Vuorimaa said.

Vuorimaa stated that if a student wants to run in Finland, she has to do it in her free time. It is not an activity at school.

Those who do run are on much smaller teams than South’s cross country team. The coaches focus more on each individual, but in the United States, coaches are focused on the team as a whole.

Compared to Vuorimaa, Micheke said, “The weather is much different in the U.S. than at home. The intensity of practice, however, is the same.”

Micheke has been doing cross country for two years now. He runs at least 9-10 miles a day.

While his favorite part about cross country is traveling and racing, he explained that there is nothing he dislikes about running in the United States.

“The team setting in the U.S. is the same compared to at home. The coaches focus both on the individuals as well as the team,” Micheke said.

Cross country is a club at school in Kenya. Running there is as popular of an event as football and soccer are in the United States.

“When racing, practice keeps me motivated which allows me to focus on my goal to be the best,” Micheke said.