Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Concord High School marching band members Keylin Cruz, Heather Johnson and Mackenzie Porter pose for a photograph at the school Thursday, Oct. 24. The three are marching in semi-state competition and running cross country Saturday. Johnson is a junior, and Cruz and Porter are sophomores. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Concord High School marching band members Mackenzie Porter, Keylin Cruz and Heather Johnson talk with a reporter at the school Thursday, Oct. 24. The three are marching in semi-state competition and running cross country Saturday. Johnson is a junior and Cruz and Porter are sophomores. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

In this 2012 file photograph, Concord’s Heather Johnson (392) races in the Elkhart Cross Country Sectional at Ox Bow Park in Elkhart on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson, File) (AP)
Concord students tackle cross country, marching band
Posted on Oct. 24, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:29 p.m.

ELKHART — Three girls in Elkhart are planning a busier-than-usual weekend.

Heather Johnson, MacKenzie Porter and Keylin Cruz, all students at Concord High School, will be representing their school at two contests on Saturday, Oct. 26 — marching band and cross-country. They will head to a cross-country meet in Fort Wayne in the early afternoon, then rush to Indianapolis to make the band competition in the early evening.

“If we play our cards right we should get there right on time,” Johnson said, smiling, during an interview at Concord High School on Oct. 24.

She added band and cross country usually falls on the same day, but this weekend’s schedule is tighter than most.

“This is the first year we’ve had a conflict like this,” she said.

The girls also said that doing two things in one day takes a lot of support from their families.

“MacKenzie’s dad is driving us, because he has a truck to fit the uniforms and instruments,” Johnson said. “And my mom is packing dinner for us, because we won’t have time to stop. It’s a group effort with all the families.”

So why are the girls putting themselves through such a punishing schedule?

They all say that the reward of being part of two teams, and helping those teams advance in competition, is worth the work.

“We’ll be tired, but we have everyone supporting us and they know we are trying to do both,” Porter said.

Cruz added, “At some schools you have to choose between band and sports, and here you don’t.”

“I never give up,” Porter said. “There are times that I don’t want to go to band after cross-country...but I tell myself not to give up, and that’s how we got to semi-state.”

“It helps that we have an amazing director and amazing teachers that support us,” Johnson added. “That’s what I like about Concord.”

Johnson is a junior and plays the tenor saxophone. Porter is a sophomore and plays the baritone, and Cruz is also a sophomore and plays the flute.