Senior cross country warriors
Corbin Alexander, Adam Gasaway, Jacob Marsh, and John Ferrell are four senior LPHS cross country runners who have been dubbed the senior warriors.
For these runners, life on the course may seem unshakable to most, but their life off the course has been riddled with injuries and health concerns.
For Alexander, cross country has been a big part of his life for six years, but his new concern is staying out of the hospital. On a recent Saturday morning, Alexander woke up feeling like he could not move nor did he want to. He felt sick with sharp side pains. With a big race coming up in a few hours, he ignored the fact something could have been terribly wrong and ran the race.
Coming to the end of the race, heading straight to the finish line, Alexander collapsed. On his way to the hospital, no one could understand what was going on. After many tests, labs and visits, Alexander found out he had appendicitis. Appendicitis is a serious medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and painful.
“It’s just a down slope before my season gets good. Surgery and recovery are going to be quick, so I can get back out and run,” Alexander said.
Many wanted to come visit Alexander at the hospital when the race was over. His brother, Carter Alexander, and his best friend, Adam Gasaway, came up right away along with many of his family members. They all helped Alexander get up and walk, and they reminded him that he can accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it. With hard work and successful recovery, Alexander will undoubtedly go on to have a great cross country season.
“My goal is to stand on the podium at State, and my hard work will get me there,” Alexander said.
With 11 years of experience, Gasaway has still never given up what inspires him: cross country. After a tragic accident that took place while exercising and training, Gasaway still has not given up.
On the afternoon of Father’s Day of 2017 at around 2:00 p.m, Gasaway was enjoying a ride on his bike when a SUV blew a stop sign at a four way crossing and struck Gasaway. While on the way to the hospital, his family and friends could not believe what was happening.
The love of Gasaway’s family and friends was unbelievable. Many came to visit him while being in the hospital and to make sure he was getting through. They always made sure he kept his head high and knew things would get better.
“I was lucky to have some great friends and family visit me in the hospital, as well as at home after I got back from the hospital, and bring balloons and care packages as well as warm words,” Gasaway said.
With seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, road rash, and a partially torn ligament in his left knee, no one thought things would be the same. He has severe scars on his back from the SUV striking him. As he’s ejected off his bike, his back hits, breaking the windshield of the vehicle.
After only a few weeks of being out from running and doing most things, his condition started to improve. As time went on and more weeks passed, Gasaway began to run at a slow and steady pace, which was the only pace he could seem to run at the time. After a couple weeks of painful running, he got back into running more normally and with much practice, effort, and time put in, Gasaway set a personal record in his first race back and is now doing very well.
“My goal this year is that I will be under 17 minutes in the 5K by the end of the season. I want to achieve that this weekend at West Lafayette,” Gasaway said.
Since his sophomore year, Marsh has been making a statement during his cross country seasons. Everything started to change during the summer when he started noticing severe pains in his knee. As fall came around, he found out he had tendonitis in his left knee. Tendonitis is an injury to the tissue connecting the kneecap to the shin bone causing severe pain to the knee area when pressure is put on it.
This injury has affected his running tremendously. Running at practice is no longer an option because of the pain. Not being able to run has made it impossible for Marsh to compete and achieve the lofty goals he had for his senior campaign. With hard work and dedication, Marsh believes he will be able to lace up his running shoes and do what he loves.
His team, especially Coach Slater, has helped greatly with boosting his confidence and helping him remember what he can do.
“Coach Slater has really helped me by giving me exercises every day to help strengthen my knee so I can get back out there and continue running,” Marsh said.
Ferrell, a cross country runner since sixth grade, has always wanted to be one of the best. He grew up watching some of the greatest runners to go through the program, along with his brother and sister, who were runners as well.
Ferrell has three strong seasons leading up to his senior year, which was set to be his strongest. Everything changed when Ferrell started to noticed things did not feel normal. After experiencing severe abdominal pain, bladder cramps, and back pains, he knew something was wrong. After doctor visits and much more, Ferrell was told the news.
“I found out I was born with a kidney defect last spring. This is a condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell went through three procedures to try and correct everything overall. The first procedure was in the spring, second at the beginning of summer, the last and biggest one at the end of the summer. Throughout the procedures, it took a lot of recovery time and prayers from much of his family and friends.
“I really found strength in my parents, Coach Slater, and God. I prayed a lot about it, and the support from others made it so much easier,” Ferrell said.
On August 31st, Ferrell had his final radiation scan. About a week or so after the surgery, he will find out how successful the procedure was and how functional his kidneys will be. Even though Ferrell will not be running this cross country season, he plans to get through his last surgery, through recovery, and come back during track in the spring to prove he will never gave up.
“Sometimes you have to give something up because God always has a plan. It may be hard to see and understand, but he won’t let you down if you trust him,” Ferrell said.
A warrior is defined as “a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill.” The battles fought have been with themselves and their bodies, but these four young men have clearly demonstrated a courage and skill that has inspired many around them.