A tradition marked by strengthened self-confidence and team spirit continued Monday as Polk County High School’s cross country teams climbed the grueling three-mile climb up White Oak Mountain Road.

Athletes, coaches, parents, teachers and community supporters gathered to participate in this year’s Silver Anniversary ascent. Cool weather and breathtaking clear blue skies heightened spirits and snacks and drinks were enjoyed by everyone.

Each participant making it to the top “without walking one step” signed an oath to receive the coveted T-shirt marking the accomplishment. One sleeve of the shirt will bear “The Kathleen Run” in memory and honor of Kathleen Peoples, sponsored by her sons, head coach Alan Peoples and his brother. T-shirts will be presented at a ceremonious White Oak dinner on Monday at Harmon Field.

The Wolverines are prepped and ready for the upcoming most important races of the season. This climb, coupled with last week’s 10-mile trek around Lake Summit in Tuxedo, will surely make the conference, region and state championship races seem like easy strolls.

Both Wolverine squads are ranked first in the Western Highlands Conference. The deciding 5K race will take place Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Jackson Park at 4 p.m.