>>  Cross Country

BY: MATT BROWN


Despite having a new coach and many new runners, the Raider’s cross-country team has been putting up incredible times. The team has one goal, to be the fastest team in the district. The team has made some great progress so far, currently having all of its members run new personal records or close to new personal records.



When asked about what he considered a good time, Junior Mason LaCava responded with, “Any time that is better than your previous time is a good time”. Unlike other sports, in cross country there is not a time that is considered as good. Sophomore Arissa Jansen-Leonardo said, “for me, my goal is around 20 minutes. Varsity runners’ ‘good’ time might be around 15-17 minutes".



The team has made progress toward their goals as well. Mason LaCava has made progress toward his goal of running under 17 minutes, “I haven’t gotten there yet, though”. Also, Junior Grace Simmons has, “made a little progress” toward her goal of 27 minutes. The team is also getting closer, and that means everyone can work harder and push themselves more and push each other to be the best runner they can be. Arissa Jansen Leonardo says, "Everyone here is like a big family, and it's probably the best thing about cross county besides running."



The team has gotten bigger than the team from last year. When asked why she joined cross country Grace Simmons said, "I knew a few people who did it and they really enjoyed it, I also wanted to try something new". The atmosphere of the cross-country team is very fun, just by being around them you can tell they are just a fun and hard-working group of people.



The new coach has been putting the team to work as well and the results have been showing. Being propelled by the support of their teammates, the runners have been doing better this year than they were last year. The support of the teammates helps them run better because cross country, according to Arissa Jansen-Leonardo, “is mostly mental.” And that if you can keep running when your body tells you to stop then that is when you will start to improve dramatically.



Cross country is not always about speed either. The runners need to find a pace they can keep for an entire 5K. The Cross-country team will continue to get better as time goes on and as long as they keep working as hard as they have been.



>>  Marching Band

BY: MATT BROWN


The SJHS marching band has been working hard since the beginning of the summer. From playing non-stop, to marching at an insanely fast beat, the marching band has been working hard to be as good as they are now.



Sophomore Richard Habib says about the hard work: “The hardest thing we have had to do is march at the beat of 172, which in crazy fast”. That tempo is the fastest they have had to march this year. They have been getting high rankings in their competitions. While they aren’t playing their instruments, they are a group of fun loving people who love memes. While they are playing they try very hard to be the best they possibly can be.



Sophomore Ruth Pacheco says the band’s favorite song is “ Mars because it is tradition to play it as the train is going by during home football games” The band has had to adjust to a new director but have been progressing very fast. Each member of the band has been pushing each other to be the best they can, which is part of the reason they have been really good this year.



Sophomore Leslie Montiel says “our expectations were to be pretty good” which they have exceeded their expectations. The new band director has been much faster at teaching new things then the other director, which means the band can learn and add onto the skills they have faster and be a better band overall. Senior Kyle Henry says “I expected us to get second or third in every competition”. Which are some pretty high expectations but the band so far has lived up to them. The band loves what they do and you can feel that when you are around them. When asked why he joined marching band Richard Habib said “I went to 8th grade night and really liked it."



The passion the band has for what they do has really helped them when they play because nobody feels not motivated to do their best. The band also has been focused on their goal one competition at a time. Before every competition they make sure every bit of their performance is perfect, or at least as close to perfect as it can get. Nobody feels like they don’t know what they are supposed to play.



Everyone knows their role. Throughout the year the band will continue to become better and possibly be the best band in the county.



>>  Kneeling During The National Anthem

BY: MATT BROWN


It all started with a knee. A knee of a quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers that touched the ground of Levi’s Stadium. He did Have a reason for kneeling during the anthem, to protest the police shooting African-American citizens. His protest was heard but nobody payed attention. Every major media news outlet asked if this was the right way to protest, because to some it was seen as disrespectful to the troops across the seas and around the world. I interviewed students in the Air Force junior office training corps or AFJROTC and asked them about what they thought about athletes (NFL players in particular) kneeling/other methods of protesting during the national anthem. I first asked Sophomore Jasmine Tibbs about whether she thought the protests were disrespectful for the military. “I do not find it disrespectful because kneeling is universally known as a sign of respect” she said as she continues with, “kneeling is the same as putting your hand over your heart”. I also asked senior, Vera Bordoh-Ansah why she thought people were making a big deal about him kneeling instead of his message he is trying to spread. “Because of the fact that he is iconic and they expect everyone to respect the flag” She told me. Vera also said “I believe it is an awesome thing because it tells people to fight against the immoral things that occur”. Trump has been quoted on saying, “this isn’t about race.” Jasmine Tibbs says on the subject, “of course it’s about race because that is why this whole thing started”. The protest gained support from other players when trump went up on stage and used expletives to describe NFL players. As resistance to trump and his comments the entire Steelers team besides Alejandro Villenueva stayed in the locker room. Many other teams protested as well with examples such as locking arms or kneeling together during the anthem. These protests continue today, and will continue to join us together or separate us even more. As of now though it is impossible to tell.