By Daniel Van Sickle
The NAIA national preview meet pit many of the teams that will be at nationals against each other and was hosted at the historic Rim Rock Farms in Lawrence. Colton McNinch ,bio-chemistry senior , said that it was “highly beneficial to see the level of completion that we will be facing”.
The men’s team got 10th place out of 30 teams while the women’s team got 19th out of 30 teams.
McNinch and another team mate Eric Anders had slightly different perspectives as far as how the men’s team did.
“I didn’t believe the team overall performed as well as we had hoped,” said McNinch, “ but there is time for improvement and it was highly beneficial to see the level of competition that we will be facing”.
Eric Anders, biology senior, has a slightly different perspective on the meet, “ I thought the team did well. We’ve altered a training a little this year so that we peak a few weeks later then last year”
As a part of the team in the past, and a cross country runner for eight years I learned that the perspective of how the team did often varies .Cross Country is a sport that is hard to gauge as to how a team had done overall as a result of the mass of teams, conditions involved, how good the team has done in the past, personal expectations, and how training is set up.
When teams are ranked it is done by a board of coaches and NAIA members with a lot of debate involved and the choices are often controversial. Sometimes it is even unknown whether you will fall or rise in the rankings based off a performance until the rankings come out. And certain weeks the rankings do not mean a whole lot to the team.
According to the Kelsey Buffum, secondary education sophomore, the women’s team performed great.
“ I am extremely proud to be a part of this team after this meet. We were missing one of our top runners Maddie Chapin. We work really well as a team and I know we will do the same at conference and nationals,” said Buffum.
All three interviewed McNinch, Anders, and Buffum found the course difficult as a result of a number of tough hills. McNinch believed that the hills also affected how the race is distributed. The more better runners according to Mcninch become more spread out away from the pack and each other.
McNinch despite the hills found the course fast and dry. Much of the Rim Rock course consists of rolling hills, the downhill’s help runners gain momentum which helps carry them up most of the hills throughout the course. According to Buffum, the final hill that led to the final 800 meters of the women’s course was extremely difficult. While Anders, felt like that he could of crawled up some of the steeper hills faster.
The choice of course for the nationals meet is nonetheless not daunting to Mcninch, Anders, and Buffum. All of whom expect the course not to negatively affect the position they will achieve at nationals. Buffum thinks in fact that the team’s knowledge of the local course will greatly benefit the team and that they should be physically and emotionally more prepared to face the course at nationals then many other teams.
Daniel Van Sickle is a senior majoring in Business Administration. You may email him at Daniel.VanSickle@sckans.edu