Claremont Cross-Country Shows Support for Saugus High School


Often, we feel helpless in the face of tragedy, and that we cannot do anything to make change, but we can show empathy for victims of the many menaces of the world, and make efforts to reach out — even small actions have the potential to change the world for the better, no matter how cliché it sounds. And when I write “we,” and forego the standards of conventional, formal writing, I mean we, teenagers, high school students, athletes, runners: victims and non-victims alike are endowed with the ability to support, and to show a commitment to humanity; and we must use it.

At the CIF Southern Section (SS) Cross-Country Championships, the CHS varsity boys team took a moment to ignore the competitive aspect of sports, put aside their differences, and show, at least in a small, symbolic way, a connection to and support for the Saugus cross-country runners. We painted Saugus-blue “S”s on our left shoulders to don during our race, and although the gesture seems insignificant, we believe that it was profoundly important; we imagined a world full of empathy, connection, sportsmanship, and believe me, it was a better one.

The Nov. 14 Saugus High School shooting hit geographically and sentimentally close to home, and it is not hard for people like me, a CHS junior and cross-country and track runner, to put themselves in the place of one of our Santa Clarita counterparts, who are “really appreciative of all of the support [they’ve] been shown,” Hannah Fredericks, a junior at Saugus High School, said to MileSplit at the Nov. 23 CIF SS Championships. The Saugus cross-country team competed at CIF only nine days and four hours after one of their fellow cross-country runners and Saugus students opened fire, killing two teens. The ability of the Saugus runners to live up to their mantra, “Saugus Strong,” merits support, in my book.

“I wanted them to run today and show that no matter how bad things get, you can still go out there, and move on, be successful, have fun, be happy again,” said Rene Paragas, the Saugus cross-country coach, fighting back tears while accepting the runner-up plaque earned by the Saugus girls team.

The “S” does not only show empathy but that connection transcends rivalry, and that through uniting with other teams like those in the Foothill League who have demonstrated their support for Saugus, the world can be made a better place, despite the horrible nature of the Santa Clarita school shooting. So, to come full circle, coalescence and empathy dispel the sense of hopelessness teens and people in general are apt to feel concerning the 70 odd school shootings which have occurred in this country this year.

To send a message of support to Saugus High School, navigate to this website: