Cross country gears up for WWU Classic

Aeryn Kauffman, Staff Reporter

CWU Athletic Communication

With a focus on hard training and team encouragement, several cross country team members are feeling particularly confident about the upcoming meet.

The CWU cross country team is preparing for the Western Washington University (WWU) Classic, held at Sudden Valley Golf Course in Bellingham, Washington on Oct. 12.

Lily Tyrrell, a transfer from Eastern Washington University, is running in her first season here at CWU.

“I’m excited just to compete. I think competing is a great way to prove yourself humbly,” Tyrrell said. “Training and then [being] able to compete is a way that you can show how much work you’ve put in.”

Tyrrell believes vocal encouragement among her teammates is crucial. She said that is why the team did so well at Western Oregon University.

Rajesh Gill, a runner on the men’s cross country team, attests to Tyrrell’s comment. Because of the great support among teammates, he is motivated to do well.

“It’s really cheesy, but I really want to do well for my teammates,” Gill said. “They really inspire me and push me to that next level.”

Head coach Kevin Adkisson said that next level can mean a few minutes or more of time difference. That’s why it’s important to train mentally as well as physically.

Caitlin Gohr, a runner on the women’s cross country team, has a specific strategy for overcoming mental hurdles during a race.

“The night before races I like to envision myself racing the course step-by-step and overcoming those mental barriers ahead of time before I’m in the situation.” Gohr said.

The  visualization technique, “can have a direct and positive impact on performance,” according to Dr. Jim Bauman, PhD, sport and human performance psychologist.

“When that time arises, I’m more equipped to get over those issues,” Gohr said.

Adkisson has shifted the team’s focus towards strength and speed.

“We’re late enough in the season that we’re really focusing in on our race pace, intensity on our hard days and then adding some true finishing type speed,” Adkisson said.

Adkisson said finishing speed has been the basis of their training for the past month, along with looking at statistics together and acknowledging players who are improving.

Gohr said steady improvement is key. She said if runners aren’t showing steady improvement it could mean there is a physical or mental barrier preventing advancement. Gohr, along with 

Trevor Allen, a runner on the men’s cross country team, agree that it’s important for the team to track progress and keep an eye on physical and mental health.

Allen refers to this as “[taking] care of the little things.” He said, “getting lots of sleep, working hard and training hard [is how to] make sure everyone’s ready to go.”

Tyrrell is inspired by Olympic champion Allyson Felix to have a great work ethic and positive attitude. Felix has won the most Olympic gold medals as a female in track and field history.

“[Felix] has had a lot of adversity. When I’m having a hard day or I don’t feel like things are going my way, I see her example of being able to get through hard things and still come out successful and with a positive attitude. It’s really cool,” Tyrrell said.