Cross Country Deconstructed

One of my favorite photoblogs to follow is The Image Deconstructed (seriously, check it out). In a somewhat blatant attempt to emulate their post structure, I’m going to break down some photos from yesterday’s state cross country meet. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting to see how certain photos come to be, and the context surrounding them.

We’ll start with my favorite image of the day:

While I’ve shot a number of cross country meets, I’ve never covered the state tournament. I knew that many of these runners literally pass out/collapse/puke at the finish line, so I made a mental note to be sure to get over to the finish line instead of just shooting what end up being, essentially, mugshots of the runners we need for stories.

After a number of runners crossed the finish line I headed over to the media “pen” (side note: WIAA has the worst media policies and access out of any high school organization I can think of. They make it incredibly hard to do my job, and they do it on purpose. They are like the NFL of high school athletes).

The first thing on my mind is to get photos of Notre Dame for Division 2. Coming into the race, the team was expected to do well, but, obviously, they didn’t. So I started shooting reactions:

These two girls (who are actually sisters) caught my eye first. But I quickly realized that they are from a Milwaukee school, not Green Bay. Moving on.

Here’s what I was looking for, Notre Dame players looking sad, but it’s too far away and…oh…uh…is that girl about to fall over right there?

But again, I care about Notre Dame in this case, because that girl is from the Milwaukee school.

I got a little closer for a nice moment between one runner and her parents as they try to console her.

Literally right next to her this is happening though. I couldn’t not take photos.

When I got in a little closer, you can tell she’s very conscious of me. But in the next moment, she just let’s it go as her mother holds her face.

WIAA officials don’t let the parents inside the fenced area, so this was the only way her mother could touch her, because the girl wasn’t able to stand.

Here’s how the whole sequence shook out in the course of a little over a minute.

Shooting the girls after the finish line was much more rewarding than the boys. The boys more or less just walked through, waved to a couple people and then headed for the bus. Thankfully, there were a couple teams that didn’t, mainly the ones who thought they had a chance to clinch the title. In Division 3, Chequamegon thought they were that team. They first caught my eye because of their ridiculously enthusiastic coach who was kissing all of them before they gathered together to wait for the results. This is them as they waited.

And here’s what happened next.

This was actually kind of heart-wrenching to watch. Especially after listening to them while they waited for the results. They had all run some of their best times of the year, they were all so certain they clinched it.

Here’s the whole sequence:

Some more of my favorites from the day…

3 thoughts on “Cross Country Deconstructed

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