By the time afternoon rolls around at Leverett's Chapel High School, the seven member cross-country team is getting ready for their second long-distance workout of the day. The 1A school is too small to have a football team, but their athletes are still focusing on one sport.
The team finished ninth in the state cross country meet last year. This year, the commitment begins before school, when they gather on their own time to start training.
"You don't see many teams with the dedication to come out at 5:00a.m," coach Matt Everett says. They put in five or six miles, then still come out during athletics."
And the dedication is contagious. Senior Cody Kirk was a track sprinter who had never run distance, until his friends on the team talked him into it.
"It was pretty much the team inspiring me to run," Cody says.
Above all, these seven guys feed off of each other. Three of them are brothers, and all are close.
"We've got a group of close friends," junior Stephen Stroman says. "We're pretty much like a family out there."
"We have good rivalries between us," senior Andrew Stroman says. "To be the best as a team, we have to have a like mind and the same goal. I think this team has that."
The team has already won one meet this year, and finished third among more than forty entrants in another. In Leverett's Chapel, the goals are set and reached with commitment as a team.