With winter season sports beginning their seasons in the upcoming weeks, a few fall sports have had the opportunity to continue their season at NCAA regionals following success in the Centennial Conference championships. While the women’s volleyball team and the women’s soccer team have received much of the attention for their stellar performances at conference championships, the cross country team has largely flown under the radar. Both the men and women’s cross country teams will be among the teams sending competitors to compete in this event, which will be held on Nov. 11 in Carlisle, PA. As the regular season comes to an end and the championship is fast approaching, the team has been reflecting on what has been accomplished this season and their hopes for a successful postseason.
JJ Zeng ’19 was the top finisher at the conference championships for the women’s team, and placed fourth overall. She commented on how the regular season has prepared her and her team for NCAA Regionals.
“The regular season has prepared me mentally and physically for competition – mentally in the sense that I am able to stay positive despite tough races, and physically because of our hard workouts and long runs. As for the team, our meets have encouraged us to work together during races. We also now know who to look out for from our rival schools while racing, so hopefully at Regionals we will know what to expect,” said Zheng.
When asked the same question, William Colgan ‘19, a junior on the men’s team and who fared well at conference championships, also spoke about how the tough workouts and races of regular season helped set him and the team up for a confident and hopefully successful post-season.
“The regular season has built confidence and strength. After three 8k races and many workouts, we know what paces we are capable of. At this point in the season, coach Pete (Carroll) says, ‘the hay is in the barn.’ At Regional[s], we just have to trust our training and race,” said Colgan.
The men’s team finished the Centennial Conference Championship meet in fifth place.
Looking ahead towards Regionals this Saturday in Carlisle, PA, Zheng is optimistic given the team’s historically consistent performance at this meet.
“We have consistently placed top 10 at Regionals as a team, so hopefully we will be able to keep that up for this upcoming year!” said Zheng.
When asked about the team’s goals beyond the regular season, William brought up the possibility of some members of the team taking their season even beyond the Regional meet.
“Personally, I don’t have a time goal for Regionals. I just want to run as hard as I can and know I gave everything when I finish. As a team, we are unlikely to qualify for Nationals, but we have sent individuals in the past. Hopefully, someone will have a really good race and qualify this year,” said Colgan.
Launching into the postseason, both the men and women of Garnet cross-country seem to be satisfied with the foundation that their five regular season meets and Conference Championships have given them. They are confident that the “hay is in the barn,” and excited to see how fast their team can race this weekend.