Morgan Grabowski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After a year of not being able to compete due to COVID-19, the Cross Country team has had a strong start to the new season. Both the men’s and the women’s teams compete in the Centennial Conference. A pre-season poll has the women ranked 5th in the conference, and the men 6th. After a solid performance at the Dutchman invitational, where the men finished 2nd and the women finished 3rd, the men’s team is ranked 7th and the women’s team is 4th in the region respectively.
Carl Blickle, the head coach of both teams, attributes the success of the team so far to a range of factors that go beyond practice. In addition to workouts and runs, Blickle stresses the importance of proper nutrition and sleep. “In order to adapt to this training stimulus and stay injury-free our athletes know they really need to focus on practicing good nutrition and getting adequate sleep. Which isn’t always the easiest thing for a college kid.” So far this season, he is satisfied with the team’s performance and dynamic because “they are really dialed in and determined to accomplish some big goals this fall.” At this point in the season, Blickle is focusing on the “fine details” and is looking forward to the championship season.
Captain Lauren Ferguson, a senior, is confident in the abilities of her teammates and is happy with how everyone is doing, including the freshmen. She considers the close-knit dynamic of the team as one of the main keys to their success this season. “We have a very supportive group of girls on the team who always look out for one another no matter the situation.” Ferguson believes that the “inclusive team culture” on and off the field pushes one another to do better. Being that it’s her final cross country season, Ferguson is most looking forward to seeing how she and her teammates perform. “We have big goals we would like to accomplish this season as a team and I look forward to seeing how our season turns out.”
Holly Chambers, a junior, agrees with Lauren on how the dynamic of the team helps improve their performance. “So far, we have grown so close to each other, which makes it easier to always have the best interest of the team in mind.” The team’s phrase is: “Eye’s up,” a motivational sentiment that acts as a reminder to keep looking forward both in and out of the race. For Chambers, the team’s third place finish at the Dutchman Invitational and Lebanon Valley is only the beginning of what the team will accomplish.
Blickle points to two invitationals that help the team assess their fitness levels for the conference and regional championship. The Paul Short Invite, which will take place on October 1st, and Border Battle, taking place on October 16th. He looks forward to a successful championship because “both programs have the ability to finish in the top 5 at this year’s Regional championship.”
The Cross Country team is excited to continue their winning streak. Team members have an upcoming meet, on Saturday, October 25th, the Penn State Abington Invitational at Lorimer Park. Good luck Bears!