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The GH Falcon

The GH Falcon

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Played in the Hornets home arena, Charlotte played host to first and second-round matchups including UNC vs. Michigan State.
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Brinley Zalc (’24) is #5 on the womens soccer team and defends against an opponent from Athens Drive. Photo used with permission from Brinley Zalc.
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Follow this link to purchase tickets for Green Hope Athletic events
Played in the Hornets home arena, Charlotte played host to first and second-round matchups including UNC vs. Michigan State.
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Mason Dean and Mason ClineApril 11, 2024
Brinley Zalc (’24) is #5 on the womens soccer team and defends against an opponent from Athens Drive. Photo used with permission from Brinley Zalc.
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Underclassmen on top: Cross country

Rafael+Dlott+%28%E2%80%9827%29+and+Olivia+Percival-Shim+%28%E2%80%9827+stand+in+front+of+the+supportive+cross+country+team+during+a+joint+boy+and+girl+weekend+practice.+Photo+used+with+permission+from+Julie+Ross.
Rafael Dlott (‘27) and Olivia Percival-Shim (‘27 stand in front of the supportive cross country team during a joint boy and girl weekend practice. Photo used with permission from Julie Ross.

“Just one more step”. Hundreds of kids continue along the path toward the finish line repeating that exact phrase in their head with every passing second. While cross country can be both a mentally and physically taxing sport, athletes Rafael Dlott (‘27) and Olivia Percival-Shim (‘27) have crossed the finish line many times, surpassing expectations as underclassmen runners. 

Both Dlott and Percival-Shim sat down with the GH Falcon and answered some questions about their respective running journeys, and the realities of cross country for underclassmen.

What prompted an interest in cross country?

The two athletes had drastically different origins to their running career. Percival-Shim revealed “I started in a running program when I was eight. I trained for two 5ks each year… My older brother started running so I did too.” Dlott on the other hand, “started running track in 7th grade… I wanted to do a sport in middle school.” Despite these opposite backgrounds, both runners are making large strides of progress within Green Hope’s XC team.

Percival-Shim accelerates at the end of her race, in hopes to beat her personal record, which was just set at 22:47.
Photo used with permission from Julie Ross.

What were some expectations when entering high school in terms of athletics?

Both runners were quite confident entering their freshmen years. “I expected it to go well because I had been training during summer and it’s similar to what I’ve done,” said Dlott. Percival-Shim expanded on this idea, “the upperclassmen connected with us younger runners… It’s been more fun and I’m used to 5ks.” Both athletes have already placed near the top of their respective genders at Green Hope, likely due to strenuous summer practices and their experiences on middle school track teams.

What’s the best part about being on varsity as an underclassmen?

Percival-Shim’s favorite part has been “getting to know older people,” she continued, “since we started over summer, it’s nice to know people before school started. We had exciting practices and themes.” Dlott also enjoyed “Training with upperclassmen. It ultimately feels like I belong which is good. The team has had a pretty good relationship so far.” 

What adversity is commonly faced as an underclassmen on varsity?

Since both these athletes have been competing with the best of the best, it’s no surprise some adversity has come their way. Percival-Shim revealed “It’s hard to run against older people because I know I won’t be winning any races, I’m just somewhere in the middle.” Dlott continued on this thought,  “As a freshmen most people don’t expect me to run with them.” This expectation is something both runners work hard to overcome: “I’m proving to other schools that I can do just as good as them, if not better, as a freshmen.” 

Dlott mentally prepares for his varsity race among other Green Hope runners at the starting line. Photo used with permission from Julie Ross.

What should be anticipated for the next few years in Green Hope cross country?

Percival-Shim and Dlott are not the only underclassmen who are performing well this year. “We have a lot of good freshmen, so the team is going to get better,” said Percival-Shim. Dlott echoed this, “expect us to be very successful.” The two athletes also emphasized the family aspect of XC. “We’re going to have a good community” and “a good time,” they assured.

Both runners just ran personal records for the 5 kilometer race at the Adidas XC Challenge; Percival-Shim ran a 22:47 and Dlott ran a 17:20. These two freshmen athletes are not only already competing at the highest invitational events, but are at the forefront of the bright future in Green Hope cross country.

 

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About the Contributor
Justin Jackson, Staff Writer
Justin is a senior at Green Hope, and this is his first year as a Staff Writer. Being in the Math Honors Society, he enjoys tutoring other students struggling with the subject and with SAT prep. Justin hopes to continue his studies outside of high school, wanting to get an MBA in Business with a concentration in Finance. Additionally, Justin is a big part of the Green Hope community as he is a part of many organizations like Student Council, Falcon Frenzy, and on the board of Green Hope's DECA chapter. On top of that, he's also a player on the Men's Soccer and Basketball team at school. If you ever want to grab a bite, you can often find Justin working at a popular Italian restaurant, Lugano's, over the weekend. He is passionate about helping others as well as being true to his interests. Besides school and work, Justin enjoys spending his time listening to music, lifting weights, and hanging out with friends.
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