The men’s and women’s cross country teams look to continue their winning ways this Saturday in Kenosha, WI at the UW–Parkside Lucian Rosa Invite as the Maroons and 27 other squads vie to take home first place.
The men’s side has started the season by taking two 2nd place finishes and a 4th place finish, but second–year Jacob Amiri does not feel satisfied with the team’s performance.
“As a team, the season has gotten off to somewhat of a shaky start but we still have our best performances ahead of us.”
Amiri cited the closeness of the team as reason for optimism for the rest of season and believes that if the members can perform consistently, results should follow.
“One of the biggest strengths this team has is how close we all are as friends. This plays a huge role in how we race, and it's obvious that guys are willing to push themselves as hard as they possible can in order to help their teammates. Our weakness this season has been consistency. There have been some great individual performances but we've yet to put it all together on one day but I think that is going to change soon.”
The women’s team has come out of the gate strong, finishing 1st in two of its meets, with a 2nd place finish being its worst. Third-year Madison Hetzner remarked on the runners’ strong start when she said, “So far we have been racing well and consistently placing our top five runners within the top 20 with under a minute spread between the first and fifth runner.” Consistency with the team’s top runners has made for a recipe of success so far for the South Siders.
Second-year Cassidy McPherson noted how the improvement in practice is starting to make a difference in meets. “So far, I think the season is progressing how we'd like it to. Workouts overall for the team have been looking very good and we are starting to put it all together in the races,” she said. “We have some people coming off of injuries and just getting into racing for the year, but give it a couple weeks and I think we will be looking even sharper and ready for conference.”
One thing that both the men’s and women’s teams had in common this weekend was the opportunity for more inexperienced runners to succeed because some of the more experienced runners were resting in preparation for the Oshkosh Brooks Invitational.
Says Amiri, “I think the team will have a great meet this weekend. A lot of the people racing are first years that have only run one 8k in their lives up to this point and they get the opportunity to have another chance at that distance. The fact that this is one of the best courses in the nation makes me think we'll have a good day.”
McPherson added that, “I think it'll be a good opportunity for some of the girls who haven't had as much racing experience this season to keep learning and improving their racing style for postseason.”
With the Maroons improving rapidly in time for the invitational, look for both teams to have strong performances. Races begin at 10 a.m. in Kenosha.