Story by Lily Harris, Contributing writer
After finishing in fifth place on the women’s side and eighth on the men’s side at the OVC championship, the Racers Cross Country team is ready to get back into shape and start their season off the right way.
“There were some really good moments last year,” said Head Coach Jenny Swieton. “We did not finish the way we wanted at OVC for the men or the women but the men finished stronger than they have in a long time at regionals.”
Swieton said there was a lot of improvement for both the men and the women; all but only one scorer is returning on the women’s side for the season.
“We add in two very solid women that did not compete at OVC last year along with a few freshmen, so I am very excited about this season,” Swieton said. “The men did not graduate anyone but have added two very talented guys as well, so their future is looking bright.”
NCAA rules bar coaches from sending out practice schedules for runners over the summer. For the Racers, training is completely up to them to prepare for the season.
To get into shape for their meets, the women typically run between 30-65 miles a week and the men run between 45-65 a week, in addition to lifting and doing pilates.
Every weekday morning, the team is at Frances E. Miller Memorial Golf Course by 6 a.m. ready to start their practices. Every time the team practices, they are timed to see if they can beat their personal-best times.
Time is always hard to calculate at races. The courses are always different because some are more difficult to run than others due to terrain. Tracks can be hilly and some can be flat, weather as well as how the runner is feeling that day all factor into final times – it varies every time.
The women’s cross country team will race either a 5K (3.10 miles) or a 6K (3.72 miles.) The men’s team will race either an 8K (4.97 miles) or a 10K (6.21 miles.)
The Racer Cross Country team will meet their first opponents at Christian Brothers on Saturday, Sept. 5. The next match will be Saturday, Sept. 19 at Vanderbilt. The Racers race twice more before their home race Halloween weekend at Miller Memorial Golf Course. The OVC championships will be Nov.13.