Athlete of the Issue: Aroon Sankoh

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Aroon Sankoh ’21 in the middle. Courtesy of Tyler Weisberg ’22.

Aroon Sankoh ’21 started his varsity running career when he came to Groton in third form, moving up to the varsity squad by his third race. In the same year, he placed 20th in the Independent School League Cross Country Championships (ISLs). Now a captain, Aroon is a consistent varsity runner and has bounced between being the 3rd and 4th runner during his last two seasons. In the 2019 ISL race, he had a time of 18:40, averaging a mile around every 6 minutes. He hopes to do even better this year.

Aroon’s teammates have great things to say about him. “In just my first cross country season I have spent with Aroon, his smile and tenacity have encouraged our teammates and me to go the extra mile. With his attitude and personality, he will make a great captain and show up for the team when it counts,” says Jeremy Gall ’24.

“He’s a great dude who works super hard. I’m sure he’ll lead by example this year,” adds former captain Josh Guo ’20.

 

What were the highlights of your last xc season?

 

My highlights were the long slow distance runs. We would run 6 miles around Groton through the town forest. Cross country is a very social sport so for most of the practices you’re having fun with your friends while running. 

 

What do you like about running and why did you choose it for fall sport? 

 

I’ve been running cross country for a while now. In cross country, there’s a perfect mix between socializing with your team and competing in a race with them as well. And the thing about competing is that you aren’t really racing against other people; cross country is more about racing against yourself. Runners are always trying to do their best, setting new PRs, and defying their own expectations.

 

When did you hit your current Personal Record, and how did you feel when you hit it?

 

I hit my PR in my sophomore year at BB&N. The course was really fast, and I finished with a time of 17:15. It felt really good because I was chasing one guy the entire race and beat him at the very end. 

 

Do you think running as a team is an important aspect of xc?

 

Running as a team is very different from running alone. In a long run when almost everyone is tired and slowing down, you’ll have two or three people motivating the whole group to run even further. Running as a team is very important because everyone pushes each other to be better.

 

What do you think sets cross country apart from other competitive sports?

 

People think that cross country isn’t a real sport because it’s just running, and not an actual game. But I think it’s the ‘realest’ sport because it’s so simple. You’re just racing against other people. It takes a certain type of person to do well in a race, because racing is just a mentality. You have to find different ways to motivate yourself to do even better. We always get 40-50 kids at the start of each season, and it’ll drop down to 30 because kids are going to quit and tell themselves cross country isn’t the sport for them. These are the same kids who say that cross country isn’t a real sport.

 

With all the old six formers gone, what do you think is going to happen to the team?

 

I just know that people are going to rise to the occasion. For example, Tyler is one of our fastest runners. He was alright in his second form year, but when he came back in third form, he got a lot better because he had trained all summer. There are going to be a ton of guys who will come back to try and do even better than their last season. I went into my sophomore year telling myself that I was going to take cross country even more seriously, and I ended up PRing that year.