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Program Information


Cross country running is all about COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY, AND CONFIDENCE! If you are interested in making a commitment to self-improvement and you are willing to work consistently to achieve your goals, cross country might be the right sport for you.


Please understand that cross country is a varsity sport, not an intramural or club activity. Regular attendance is expected and interest in competitive cross country racing is required. This is not a sport to get in shape for other sports or to prepare you for road races. Those may be indirect benefits, but we want to build a team culture around athletes who are wanting to become better cross country runners. We care little about what you’ve achieved in the past; we care a lot about what you think you can achieve in the future. We don’t have try-outs and don’t make cuts. However, it is our expectation that you approach this sport with the mindset of a varsity athlete. Expect to improve. Expect to continually set new goals. Expect to be successful!


As a Southwest student-athlete you must be committed to your academic studies. It is, after all, the main reason you’re in school. But you CAN be committed to both academics and athletics at Southwest. The MSHSL and members of the Southwest High School community encourage you to experience both. And our coaching staff will fully support your overall high school experience as long as you also commit to being a member of the team.


High school cross country runners have a wide range of ability. Rarely will we experience lack of competition. We compete in a solid Conference (Minneapolis City) and very good Section (6AA) with very talented individuals. It’s a great accomplishment to achieve All-Conference recognition, and an even greater accomplishment to achieve All-Section recognition and qualify for the MSHSL State Meet.



  1. To continue to help student-athletes become better people and better prepared for life’s challenges.

  2. To develop the physical and mental abilities of each athlete to the highest possible level.

  3. To continue to maintain the sense of personal and team pride in Laker Cross Country.

  4. To increase the number of athletes in our program and to retain all athletes for the entire season.

  5. To develop athletes over 3, 4, and 5 year periods with appropriate workloads utilizing proper training theories and practices.

  6. To have over thirty 7th and 8th graders in our program each year.

  7. To become the best possible teams and to move up the ladder in the Conference, Section, and State.




How long are the races?

The official distance for the championship meets (Conference, Sections, State) is 5k for both girls and boys. Most of the meets we attend offer JV races, as well as shorter race distances for middle schoolers. Athletes will not be put in races longer than the coaching staff deems appropriate.


How many days a week is practice?

Practice is held daily after school Monday through Friday from 3:30-5:30. We also practice some Saturday mornings from 8-10 at Hyland Park in Bloomington. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend these “long run” Saturday practices. See the calendar on the homepage for specific dates and times (coming soon!).


How many miles do you run each day?

Mileage varies greatly depending on age, experience level, time of season, and day of the week. Beginners should be able to run 2-3 miles without stopping. Some of our varsity athletes who have several years of running experience may get up to 60 miles/week but varsity boys average 40-45 miles/week and varsity girls average 35-40 miles/week. See types of training for more information (coming soon!).


Can I do another sport while still participating in cross country?

Potentially. Please contact Head Coach Andrea Gelle to discuss the possibility.