Cross country team pushes forward: Captains reflect on past seasons

Cross country captains Kevin Durant and Adam Banat said they felt disappointed and heartbroken about their canceled season.

“I was surprised how everything just happened so fast,” Durant said. “I was disappointed the season was canceled. I take it as just a reason to get better – it’s good to rest up.” 

Banat said, “I was heartbroken. I had a feeling it was going to happen but, in my heart, I did not want it to happen. We trained over the summer thinking the season was going to happen. But once it happened, I just stopped training. I was not motivated to run anymore.”

He added, “I would love to have had the season this year, but there is nothing we can do. We need to move on and keep training.”

To keep busy, Banat said the team has been practicing three days a week, as well as running to keep fit.

Durant does not think this season should have been canceled.

“For our sport, I don’t think it had to be canceled. Cross country is not a touchy sport, you run in your own space.”

When asked about his extra free time Durant replied, “I have been running a lot more than I would be during the season. I have also been doing classes and stuff.”

Durant said he averages 60 to 65 miles per week.

Despite COVID-19 canceling their season, the cross country team still runs together.

Banat said, “Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays we run as a team and we are also supposed to be running on our own the other days.” 

He continued, “I currently average 20 miles per week.”

There are no seniors on the cross country team, so nobody is missing their last season.

“We do not have any seniors currently. But, when spring track got canceled last semester, the seniors were so sad. One of the seniors studied abroad the year before, so she missed two years in a row which was brutal for her,” said Banat.

He added, “Our expectation for this semester was to try and get everyone to run together without the coach before we started practice together.”

The cross country team is trying to stay in good spirits, and the four captains are doing their best to welcome new freshmen during unsettling times.

When asked about goals for the season, Durant said he wants the team to remain competitive and healthy.

Both runners also had personal records they were hoping to break.

“I was hoping to hit the 27-minute mark for the 8K,” said Durant.

Banat said, “I wanted to hit top eight on the team again to go below a half hour for the 8K.”

When asked about their relationships with the team, both had positive replies.

“Last year, I don’t think there was a day we did not do anything together. Whether it was going to dinner after practice or hanging out in Towers we were always together. We have made pies, watched movies, and gone out to dinner off-campus,” said Banat.

Both Banat and Durant recalled exciting memories from their time on the cross country team.

“Probably going to Maine every year for regionals. Going as a team was a good experience,” said Durant.

He added, “Competing against the region is really fun!”

Banat agreed.

“Yeah, I can say the same. The conference meeting is always fun every year,” he said. “It was nice to go to Maine, even though the three-and-a-half-hour ride was no fun.”

He added, “Getting the hotel overnight was nice.”

Framingham State cross-country has altered their lives for the better, they said.

“I can say, that as I am a commuter, if I did not do cross country, I would not have made as many friends in the beginning. The connections I made are great,” said Banat.

Durant said, “Framingham cross country has helped my life by making me push myself and by making myself a better person.”

Although COVID-19 has had numerous negative effects, they managed to find positives during their time off.

Both captains said it was nice to spend time with family throughout the pandemic, since they usually get home late and wake up early for practice.

When asked which runners inspire them the most, Durant said Eliza Weisse, one of the captains on the women’s cross country team.

“I would say Eliza Weisse. She pushes me every day to go for a run. Even when I am not feeling it, she makes me go for a run no matter what,” said Durant.

He added, “She always stays in touch with me.”

Banat said, “I think for me, last year Jaydon [Kinuthia] and Aidan [Estrella] because they just pushed [the team] hard.”