By Alyssa Kerry
After a long few months of running miles for the Women’s Cross Country team the squad was able to finish at conference in 13th place, with four out of their five players finishing in the top 100.
The difference between long distance running and a lot of other sports? It is the amount of preparation in the summer to prepare their bodies for the long running season.
Junior, Guadalupe Gonzalez said, “before starting the season, we have to prepare ourselves with a base which is a lot of miles during the summer! Ranging from 30-50 miles weekly” but the most important part is “just taking care of our bodies for the season.”
The statesmen returned a large amount of runners after placing 10th last year at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship. Returning Gonzalez, senior Deja Lewis, junior Alexys Devlin, junior Adrianna Davis, junior Charron Farmer, sophomore Charlotte Hackett.
The Statesmen started off the season on September 2nd at the Augustana Twilight. Leading the Statesmen was Guadalupe Gonzalez who placed 123rd out of 228 runners with a time of 19:28:27. Gonzalez was followed up by Deja Lewis who placed 191st out of 228 competitors.
According to Gonzalez “the goals at the beginning of the season was just to improve in every meet, staying healthy and getting stronger throughout the season.”
Following their first meet, the Statesmen travelled to the Grand View Invitational. The women took 7th place in the field. During the meet Gonzalez placed 13th out of 68 runners and was the first statesmen to finish the race. Junior Alexys Devlin, sophomore Charlotte Hackett and freshman Bree’Anna Lee finished in the top 50.
September 23rd the Statesmen went to the Brissman/Lundeen invitational where the team competed in the lower gold tier. They finished 21st out of 26 with 502 points. Gonzalez had the seventh best time ever at WPU with 25:17.1 in the 6k distance. This run lead her to placing 23rd out of 226 runners.
All runners for the Statesmen placed in the top 200, with Deja Lewis in 92nd, Alexys Devlin in 148th, Bree’Anna Lee in 153rd, Rachel Surbaugh in 181st and Charlotte Hackett in 194th.
Through-out the season the squad endured many different injuries with each of their runners. With the season being hard on the body due to the amount of running and conditioning required in order to compete at such a high level.
Gonzalez said, “we faced many obstacles during the season but mainly the nagging injuries that all of us encountered. Overcoming some of them is important for cross country as it can break you if not taking care as suppose to.”
October 8th the Statesmen attended the St. Ambrose Fighting Bee Invitational. The squad placed 11th with 282 points. The 5k race for the Statesmen was lead by Gonzalez who placed 18th out of 123 competitors. Gonzalez was followed by Deja Lewis who placed 66th and
Bree’Anna Lee who placed 98th respectably.
The NAIA Seminole Valley Stampede was on October 22nd. The Statesmen finished in 25th and was lead by Gonzalez who placed 79th on the 5K course with a time of 20:27 which was the fastest of the season for the team at the distance. Deja Lewis was less than a minute behind Gonzalez placing 129th with a time of 21:22.
Two members of the squad were honored during the fall for their work in the classroom. As they were named 2016 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Arianna Davis had a 4.0 GPA and Alexys Devlin had a 3.84. The two statesmen were among 335 females in the NAIA to be awarded for their academics.
The Heat of America Athletic Conference Championship was on November 5th, the squad came in 13th with 318 points. Gonzalez completed the 5K course with a time of 20:07.69 placing her 38th individually. Four out of five runners for the Statesmen squad finished in the top 100. With Deja Lewis finishing in 55th, Alexys Devlin in 84th, Bree’Anna Lee in 91st, and Arianna Davis in 97th.