All In: Shorewood Girls Cross Country

All In: Shorewood Girls Cross Country (2015)

My daughter entered high school last year and despite all my anxiety, it was a smooth transition. I attribute this mainly to her joining the cross country running team. Although I never participated in high school athletics, even I noticed there was something different about this team. I had to capture it.

I documented the Shorewood Girls Cross Country 2015 season, my daughter’s second season on the team. The 2.5 month journey inspired me to work in a journalistic manner, a new process for me. Along the way, I met 67 high school girls, 3 coaches, and countless supportive parents. I participated in a 3-day camping trip, many meets, in-home pasta dinners the night before meets (yes with 67 girls!), bus trips to and from meets, and witnessed fascinating traditions including leg striping and hair dying. 

I never thought I would do a sports-themed project. Not long into it, I realized I wasn’t. I was instead doing a coming of age project on bonding and self-development, which is what made this team different. It’s not only about the running; it’s about the safe and inclusive environment where any teenage girl feels included and thrives because of it. This vibrant space is the vision and love of coach Sarah Kopplin whom the girls call Spence.