The Maroons will head to Kenosha, Wisconsin tomorrow to compete in the Lucian Rosa Invitational, their penultimate meet before the UAA Championships in St. Louis next month.
Chicago’s men and women have both gotten off to impressive starts this season. The men have finished second, third, and first, respectively, in their three meets, while the women have been even more dominant, winning three out of their four meets.
The women’s success has been driven by the strength of the collective, which has, in turn, helped improve individual confidence.
“The team's mentality has always been very focused towards running as a pack and succeeding in races together,” third-year Catherine Young said. “If one of your teammates falls off pace, you talk to them and push them to regain focus during the race.”
Young has been one of the team’s leaders, and has consistently been a top finisher for Chicago. She was the first South Sider to cross the finish line during the meet at Wheaton College earlier last month.
Fourth-year Kevin On shared similar sentiments to Young.
“When they see me putting in consistent work in practice and then seeing it translate into consistent results, I think it helps keep them motivated and optimistic about the future,” On said.
On also believes that off-the-field mentality is crucial.
“Injury prevention is obviously important in cross-country, but managing time to reduce stress should be of the utmost importance as well,” On said. “In my experience, procrastination breeds stress, which hinders success.”
The women’s strong start this season will only bring additional pressure, but Young remains confident.
“I think that our team has handled the pressure very well this year,” she said. “Finishing as high as we did last season definitely left us with an expectation to be great, but instead of breaking under that expectation, we have remained focused and determined to run our very best as a new team in a new season.”
With UAAs and NCAAs fast approaching, the emphasis for the Maroons is very much on entering those meets in peak condition. Remaining injury-free will be central to that effort.
“In order to be successful at the national meet in about 50 days, we need to stay healthy,” third-year Michael Frasco said. “Most of the hard work is already over. In the upcoming weeks, we begin to sharpen our legs and prepare for some hard races.”
The racing at the Lucian Rosa Invitational is set to start at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Kenosha, WI.