Athlete Sam Perdue is on the run toward success

RUNNING PAST THE COMPETITION. Sam Perdue, center, participates in the

Michael Fanning

RUNNING PAST THE COMPETITION. Sam Perdue, center, participates in the "Warrior Invitational" cross country meet. Perdue made huge gains as a runner since sixth grade, when he first joined the team.

Samson Ogbazghi, Entertainment Editor

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Sam Perdue races up the hill, his feet pounding the grass. He passes one, two, three runners on the way to the top. He reaches the top of the hill and, without hesitation, flies down the slope at full speed. Perdue lives for the joy of running cross country.

He had many reasons to join the cross country team at Sevier Middle.

“I thought it would be a fun experience to get to know people in a big, new school and keep me active,” Perdue said.

Perdue enjoys running, especially when it gets challenging.

“I look forward to feeling uncomfortable because that’s when I know I’m pushing myself and making myself better,” he said. “I love the satisfaction of finishing a race, knowing I put everything into that race, and that I contributed to something greater than myself, my whole team.”

Perdue’s biggest success was making the varsity team and scoring for his school after months of hard work.

“One of the most satisfying things in cross country is running up hills,” he said. “You can pass so many people on the way up and you get to fly down the other side.”

Despite these successes, he has also faced challenges.

“Working my way up from nearly last place on the team in 6th grade [was my biggest challenge],” he said. “In the summer before 8th grade, I realized this was my last chance to make it. I ran constantly, working on speed and mileage, keeping in mind that all of my effort would be worth it in the end.”

During a race, running in the second half of the race is the most challenging for Perdue, because he works hard but still has more to go.

Perdue has to train frequently to be a good runner.

“I keep my ultimate goal in mind, and try to run as close to people better than me as I can,” he said.

To stay fit to run, he also has to have a healthy diet.

“When May comes around, I completely cut out soda from my diet,” Perdue said. “I also try to avoid dairy products on race days. It helps my stomach feel a million times better.”

Perdue is also involved in other sports.

“I like to play baseball and track,” he said. “I like these activities because they’re fast paced.”

His parents are supportive of his athletic pursuits.

“They’re always supporting me, telling me they know I’m capable of anything I set my mind to,” he said.

Coaches are an important part of sports, as they help athletes grow and win.

“It’s amazing,” Perdue said. “They work and talk with you one-on-one and really care about you and the team. They know what they’re doing and see your full potential.”

Most athletes also have to interact with team mates. Perdue get along well with his fellow runners.

“Everyone on the team knows each other,” he said, “and the varsity people are really tight and everyone gets along great. Everyone supports one another.”

Some athletes struggle to complete their homework, but Perdue is not one of them.

“Cross country only lasts for an hour and a half after school, so as long as you get on your homework right after practice, it’s really easy to get done,” he said.

Perdue believes there are three things necessary to be a good athlete: a good work ethic, willpower and persistence.

“No matter where you are, there is always another level you can achieve, but you have to truly believe in yourself, and put in the work continually,” he said. “There is no limit to what you can do.”

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