The Georgia men’s cross country team receives a pre-race pep talk from distance coach Patrick Cunniff. UGA hosted its first and only home meet of the season, the Bulldog Invitational, in Athens, Georgia on Aug 31, 2019. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean)

Georgia redshirt freshman Chase Condra and senior runners Jack Bradley and Nate Reichard share a special bond among themselves and within the rest of the Georgia cross country team. But the trio’s bond was ignited before they suited up in a Georgia uniform.

Condra, Bradley and Reichard all went to Peachtree Ridge High School together and became close teammates and friends. They carried their camaraderie into their collegiate running at Georgia.

When Condra first arrived at Peachtree Ridge as a freshman, Bradley and Reichard were seniors. Condra noted that those two guys were people he immediately respected.

“As they were seniors I looked up to them,” Condra said. “They were part of the reason why I picked UGA.”

Bradley and Reichard, who have been friends since youth sports and have lived together all through college, stated they were impressed with Condra immediately when he walked onto the scene as a freshman.

“He came in … first day of practice and hung in the whole run with our senior class, and I just remember thinking like ‘We gotta get this kid to stay around,’” Reichard said.

Condra got to know Bradley and Reichard in high school just before they left for Georgia, and he credits this formed friendship to his easy adjustment to the team when he joined them four years later. He also explained that he never felt excluded when first joining the team at Georgia.

“I felt like I had people on the team that I already knew,” Condra said.

As the friendship between the three carried over into college, the bond heavily enhanced their performance during races.

“When you’ve known somebody for as long as I’ve known Nate, and we’ve known Chase, I think that definitely helps when you’re on the starting line,” Bradley said. “It’s definitely kept us focused but also makes just everything regarding practice and running and all that easier.”

Reichard also gave credit to the correlation between their bondage and performance.

“We have a long term bond, [it] really makes it motivating to do well and compete in practice,” Reichard said.

Condra also said that there’s a correlation between the trio’s chemistry and the performance at a race. He emphasized this notion by reliving a previous race, where the Bulldogs were having such a fun time and joking around with each other during warmups, while all the other teams were super serious. He thinks this takes a lot of pressure off individual players and the team as a whole and contributes to their respected execution during races.

Condra, Bradley and Reichard all credit cross country for this strong connection, and they are grateful for what it has given to them both on the starting line and through life.

“Without cross country, I wouldn't nearly be the same friends I am with Jack and Chase,” Reichard said. “I'll be able to depend on those two basically even after we're off the team I think. It'll be … lifelong friendships.”