Sawyer McCarthy finds balance and joy in his hectic schedule


Sawyer McCarthy running at his cross country meet

Like the majority of the FHC Cross-Country team, sophomore Sawyer McCarthy began running in the seventh grade. He chose cross-country simply because he wasn’t participating in any other fall sports, and thought he might give it a try. Little did he know the talent he truly held for the sport. 

“My favorite memory is getting a personal record at The Cougar Falcon Invitational,” Sawyer said. “I got a 16:25 which is better than I’ve ever done. And we got chocolate milk after which was fun.”

Sawyer had never run cross-country before seventh grade, so he didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he first joined the team. Although he may not have started running due to a passion he held for the sport, it wasn’t long before he learned to love and appreciate it. 

“The team aspect of cross-country is the best,” Sawyer said. “Training and competing at meets together brings us closer as friends.”

To some people, getting a personal record and placing seventh overall at a meet may seem like enough excitement to fill one sports season, but for Sawyer, it isn’t. 

Sawyer is also a part of the FHC Ranger Marching Band. He plays percussion—mostly tenor drum—in the drumline as well as the Jazz Ensemble. Unlike many people, Sawyer did not discover his musical talent through the instrument fittings in fifth grade; he had been wanting to play percussion since long before then. 

“As a kid, I always wanted to be a tenor drummer,” Sawyer said. “I always wanted to be a part of the percussion. So in third and fourth grade, I took piano lessons and drum set lessons. Then in fifth grade, I picked out my instrument and joined the school band.”

Sawyer’s love and dedication to the marching band are what give him the motivation that is necessary to continue enjoying performances, especially with the crowded schedule it provides. 

The marching band and cross-country seasons overlap to such an extent that Sawyer rarely has any free time left during his week. Between those two extracurriculars and school, there isn’t much else he can spend his time doing; but for him, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I definitely wish sometimes that I could have more time in the fall,” Sawyer said. “It takes a lot of time to do marching band, cross country, and school. Occasionally it is difficult [to balance all three], but I can usually find a way to make it easier.

There’s rarely any free time, but that’s what the off-season is for: catching up on things that I missed out on during the fall

— Sawyer McCarthy

Even with the demanding schedule and dedication that marching band requires, Sawyer has never lost any love for the activity. While he may have a better aptitude for running, Sawyer said that it would be impossible to choose between the two of them if he had to. 

Through all of his seven years of playing percussion—five playing for FHC—he has continued to cherish every practice and performance with the rest of the band. Not only does Sawyer play with the marching band during halftime performances, but he is also in the drumline which means that he has a major role in the fifth-quarter drumline performance. 

“The drumline plays the fifth quarter after every football game,” Sawyer said. “I really enjoy performing in that after the game.”

Between school, cross-country, and marching band, Sawyer’s fall season is jam-packed with activity. Many people would find the lack of free time aggravating, but from performing in the football games to a personal record for a 5k and chocolate milk afterward, Sawyer loves every part of it.

“I have never wanted to [switch instruments or sports],” Sawyer said. “I’ve found my place in cross-country and marching band.”