Penpals: Abbeville girls CC produce poster quilt for Virginia team

Abbeville cross country coaches David Aleman and Lillian Ferguson were looking for ways to keep their team motivated this season. Aleman, a former runner and coach at Brentsville (Va.) discussed with the girls team at Abbeville about starting a penpal relationship with the Virginia team.

Abbeville quilt poster
The Abbeville team displays the poster quilt sent to Brentsville. (David Aleman photo).
The Abbeville team sent the Brentsville cross country squad a poster quilt with inspiration sayings in hopes of motivating the team and building a running relationship with others beyond South Carolina. The first contact they had with Brentsville was with the quilt. "I came up with the words to help the team (Brentsville) focus on winning and not losing," said Abbeville second year team member Emma Williams.

"The quilt is a way to get the Brentsville cross country team pumped up and ready to race," said Abbeville third year runner Heather Miller. "Our coach thought it was a good idea to write motivational quotes so they can remember them when they run. I thought it was awesome! It's a great way to get motivated before a big race. It's good to know that we are not the only team with so much spirit."

"Coach had spoken to us about the team, and how they have been really enthusiastic about how we were doing, but it was a complete surprise to receive the poster," said Brentsville's Stephanie Hutson. "We gasped, and "aw"'ed, and were really excited to know that there was this group of girls who were so supportive of us."

"Our girls are pretty good friends with Virginia's Midlothian team, but this is the first time we have been given the opportunity to talk with out of state schools," said Hutson.

Hutson had this to season about their season, "Our season started out a little rocky, with injuries, and the disappointment of not reaching our goal times, but it has picked it up in the post season, and we hope to win Regionals and States. States will be the most challenging, because the Blacksburg girls are also shooting to win the state title."

Third year Abbeville veteran Lacy Little had this to say about the relationship. "I thought it was a wonderful idea. This would be a way to hear the thoughts of runners from another state. This is a good way to be able to encourage each other and see what running is like in a different state with different weather conditions and workouts. On the quilt we wrote motivational quotes to help encourage Brentsville (Va.) girls' cross country team. Our coach came up with the idea and we agreed that it was a good idea. We hope they will be encouraged by this."

Little mentioned this about her season, "I've learned that having a positive attitude can really help and make a lot of difference."

"I feel it (penpals) will definitely improve both teams," said Hutson. "Just communicating with another team without ever having to compete with them will give us someone to support whole heartedly.

"Even if the communication does not improve times for the team, it will improve the psyche of it, and will broaden our horizon. We are going to send them a copy of the picture we took with their poster/quilt, and though we have not discussed anything yet to return, we will track their progress, and wish them luck and congratulations."