Student of the Week: Ali strives to cultivate dedication, support teammates in pursuit of excellence


Nandini Paidesetty

Coppell cross country warms up with a one mile jog on Tuesday at Buddy Echols field. Coppell High School junior Tahir Ali (center) is returning from an injury and perseveres to improve every morning.

Nathan Cheng, Staff Writer

Coppell High School junior runner Tahir Ali is a dedicated team player and student athlete. He has been running cross country for four years and is a volunteer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. He has suffered shin splints this past season, but strives to overcome obstacles and become the best athlete he can to support his fellow teammates. 

What has cross country meant to you?

I really take it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Honestly, I think cross country has taught me more than any of my classes. It’s just teaching me about life, how to work hard, how to work with my peers and dedicate myself. The combination of school and cross country helped me grow so much more than I would have otherwise. 

How have you benefited from Coppell cross country?

[Cross country] is good for my physical health, I’ve noticed that it has made a lot of changes on my body. I’m less lazy, I was very lazy over the pandemic but now that I’m back in person with my peers and we’re all cheering each other on, it’s just so much fun to run. It’s also taught me not to push myself too much. I’ve experienced a lot of injuries over the season but [have learned to avoid injuries] I haven’t experienced those same injuries and I’ve been able to work past [them].

How have you learned to work with others through cross country? 

In any sport, you are always competing with your peers. That is how you push each other to do better. But in cross country, what’s unique is that you know that the other person is dying. If everyone is pushing themselves and nobody is slacking off, there is a certain trust you build with your teammates. You know that they will go through whatever they need to go through to help you and that makes you truly believe in what you are fighting for. 

What is the most important lesson you have learned in cross country? 

Dedication to my teammates and dedication to the sport is probably what it all comes down to. I have never been more dedicated to something in my life. [Seeing] people grinding and working their hardest makes you want to grind and work your hardest. That is just my nature. I try to see what my peers are doing and help them as much as I can and the best way to do that is to run with them and compete with them. We’re all in this battle to be faster and stronger and that’s what creates such a nice environment. 

Follow Nathan (@WalterBotell) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.