DeWitt Panthers Using Their Favorite Music as Motivation


The DeWitt Boys Cross Country team has enjoyed getting the opportunity to compete this fall season. Especially when other high school sports have been postponed because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they’re enjoying every moment of their sport.

“It feels really good because we all like to do it, I mean we don’t like to run but it’s really a team sport,” said DeWitt junior runner Anthony Rodolico.

We clarified with Rodolico on not loving to run and if that’s just how he feels or does the entire team also hate running?

“None of us like to run it’s terrible but we all do I mean we’re all heightening our physical abilities and we love doing together and we’re just a tightly knit group of guys,” said Rodolico.

For a team of runners who don’t always enjoy running, getting through competitions takes some mental tactics to help these Panthers push through the agony of their sport.

“Usually just focus on the person in front of you have a good song in your head maybe some Metallica or something something to keep you going,” said Rodolico

“Songs by Death Leopard…sometimes songs by Tesla,” said DeWitt junior runner Austin Smelker.

Head Coach Brian Byars explained how valuable those songs can be to the sanity of his players during competition and practices.

“So they all have something that they focus on especially you know when you hit that second mile of a race and you’re all the way from the crowd and they’re nobody else around you it’s only you and the run and you brain is telling you that it’s too tired and it’s time to stop you need something else to focus on,” said Bryars. “We’ll have guys that their big focus is the song right so they’ll pick a song and they’ll start singing that song while they’re running to help get their mind off the run or to find the correct rhythm that they’re in.”

“Yeah it motivates me like just keeps me going, helps me from giving up,” said Smelker.

Pushing through the pain together like a rock band of runners.

“We all like enjoying each other’s company and just being able to exercise together and going though that pain it feels really good,” said Rodolico.

“We’re kinda like all like individuals we’re kinda built different from each other but like we all compliment each other and we all support and make one amazing team,” said Smelker.

In the Panther’s latest meet they defeated Lansing Waverly making it their second win in a row and they are currently undefeated. DeWitt’s next meet will be on their home course against East Lansing on Thursday, September 10th.

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