The William Jewell women’s cross country team competed in their second-to-last meet of the season Nov. 8. The long term goal of the team was to place at least ninth in the meet. With an overall time of 2:00:11 and an average time of 24:02, the team succeeded. The fastest Jewell runner was Elizabeth Stevenson, first-year, with a time of 23:11, average 6:11 per mile.
This is a substantial improvement from last year’s season, in which they placed second-to-last out of 14 total teams. The team was able to beat two of their biggest rivals, Drury, 12th, and Rockhurst,13th. Missouri S&T, another one of the team’s big competitors, was the only other team to place higher than Jewell, who placed seventh.
To help the team reach their goal this season, the athletes prepared even harder than usual. Their camp begins early in the summer June 1. From there, the runners begin workouts and put in the mileage and work that they need to do to get into shape for the regular season in the fall.
The training they did was not only physical, but mental as well. One strategy they used was visualization, picturing how the race will go and what kind of splits they would get. Training for cross country never truly ends, however. There is no offseason for cross country other than summer. After the fall season, some begin indoor track in the winter and later outdoor track in the spring.
The team can only improve from this season onward. This upcoming year there will be no graduating seniors.
“It definitely impacts the team, depending on the presence the senior has,” said Liria Gutierrez, junior. “When I was a freshman, Jess Connery was really good, and losing her really set the team back.”
With the incoming class, the cross country team will have newer talent that will build upon their current foundation. To top it off, the current team is the fastest team Jewell has ever had. At the most recent meet, the women not only beat their goals for their team, but also their own personal goals.
Next season they hope to beat not only Rockhurst University and Drury University, but plan to overcome Missouri S&T in place as well.