At the infamous LaVern Gibson cross country course hundreds of pairs of seniors’ shoes hang. (Katie Reeves)
At the infamous LaVern Gibson cross country course hundreds of pairs of seniors’ shoes hang.

Katie Reeves

Senior Cross Country Tradition

January 22, 2021

Cross country symbolizes a lot of different things for all the people who compete in the sport. For some, it is about pushing the limits you place on yourself both mentally and physically and seeing just how much you can take. For others, it is about consistently improving and breaking your old records and working your way towards becoming a better, stronger runner. Whatever reasons you have for participating in cross country, most runners can agree on one thing: we put our blood, sweat, and tears into our sport. 

It is special to us, and it is extra special to be a senior in the sport. Seniors know they do not have many more races ahead of them, and that they need to take in each moment and make it special. That is why many senior runners who attend the Nike Twilight race at the famous LaVern Gibson course will throw an old pair of their spikes onto the “Spike Tree.” 

The Spike Tree represents the same things the sport represents to us: years of hard work, dedication, and many miles put on those spikes. The tree has hundreds of pairs on it, and it is a tradition for seniors from all over Indiana to throw a pair up there. No other course that the Martinsville team competes at has anything like it, and it is truly a special moment for the seniors to get to add their shoes. It is a bittersweet feeling knowing your high school cross country career is coming to a close, but it is something the seniors will never forget. 

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