Cross country preps for Big Sky championship

Both the men and women train hard and put in long miles

By Kelly Manalo, Staff Writer

On Oct. 27 the cross country team will send seven female and six male contenders to the Big Sky Conference Championships in Flagstaff, Ariz.

“The team has a shared vision and goal for what they are working towards. Teammates are working really hard and are accountable to each other,” said head coach Christopher Zeller.

“For a lot of these guys it is going to be a valuable experience to have this [Big Sky Conference Championship] since everyone [on the team] is young,” said Zeller. There are only three seniors on the team of twenty-three, according to the team roster.

The team started training in August and will continue to train throughout conference with a two-week break between cross country and track and field. Everyone on the cross country team is also on the track and field team, according to Zeller.

“At the beginning of the season we build up our mileage. Two-fifths of the season we hit our peak mileage and start handling some big workouts, increasing the intensity of it. This helps reach our peak [performance] and be well rested towards the end [of the season],” said David Thor, freshman.

At the beginning of training, runners start at 25 miles per week, according to Zeller.

“Peak mileage varies between runners. If a [male] freshman is coming in they will try to build up to 70 miles a week and that will be their high point. Then we’ll start to lower it. The number of miles they run starts to decrease towards the end,” said Zeller.

“Girls work up to 50-55 miles a week at their highest. Berenice [Penaloza] and Katie [Mahoney] run 70 miles a week. What level they are depends on training age and past experience,” said Zeller.

Male freshman work up to 70 miles per week and some team members run 100 miles a week, according to Zeller.

“When they’re out there putting in those kind of miles. They’re working towards something special,” said Zeller.

“We want to run that much. It’s [all about] goals and seeing what you can do. If I place high [in a race] that means I can be so much better,” said Penaloza, freshman.

“I just want to get the race over with. It’s at 7,000 feet, I’m not gonna put any pressure [on myself] about running fast times. All I want is to have a good race,” said Thor.

According to Zeller, no one person can carry the sport. It takes five or six quality athletes. Even though sixth and seventh place do not count, they might help displace other teams points.

The team with the lowest score wins. The top five runners scores will be added to the teams score to decide what place the team gets as a whole, according to Zeller.

“It’s all about the place, not the time,” said Zeller.

The team supports each other on the course, track, in school, wherever they are, according to Danie Moon, sophomore biology major.

“We have a mature, intelligent group, with no drama. It says a lot about the team,” said Coach Zeller. Thor then went on to say, “If we don’t get along we’re stuck together for the next few years.”

“We’re pretty close, it’s only my first few months as a team and [it] already feels like a family,” said Thor.