Wildcats at season finish-line

Dani Eggleston (right) and Megan Rodgers (left) lead the pack of runners at a meet.

Central Athletics

Dani Eggleston (right) and Megan Rodgers (left) lead the pack of runners at a meet.

Samuel Beaumonte, Staff Reporter

After finishing up the regular season by placing sixth at the Seattle University Emerald City Open on Saturday, Oct. 17, Central’s cross-country team is beginning to prepare for the GNAC championship in Bellingham, Wash.

The conference championship will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, giving the team a week to prepare for the meet.

“We’re all a little tired after our last meet, but we’re not racing soon so we have time to get ready,” senior Ryan Thompson said. “We normally have easy days before we go to a meet so we don’t tire ourselves, but we’re pushing ourselves a bit more to get ready. It’s one last push before we start to taper down before the meet.”

The 8k route for the GNAC Championship is a shortened version of the 10k route the Wildcats ran at the Western Washington University invitational.

“I stayed at my pace for my first 10k, I expect to run at a better pace because the course will have less hills and be a slightly smaller distance this time around,” freshman Tyler Humphries said. “I definitely want to set a personal record, but it’s not about time anymore, it’s about placing. We want to pass as many people as possible.”

In earlier races, players may focus on setting personal records and work towards achieving the best time that they can, but as the season nears it’s end, the collective team’s score is more important.

“My personal record is near 16 minutes, and although this year has a hillier course I’d love to run a 16:20 or 16:30,” Thompson said. “My personal goal however is to do whatever it takes to get the team to the top five. I’m more about the team than I am about my personal record. This late in the season, it’s not all about times, it’s about placement.”

Typically, teams are evaluated by their top-five runners’ placement. The sum of each runner’s placement equals the team’s final score.

The team with the least amount of points at the end of the race is the winner. This encourages runners to pace themselves and ensures that their team will not be left behind.

“We’re focusing on running as a pack and getting ten to seven guys under the 27 minute mark,” junior Kyle Paulson said.

This year, the team is aiming to make into the top-five of the GNAC meet, but there are three teams, Simon Fraser University, Montana State University Billings and Concordia University, that have similar times close to their own.

Last year, at the GNAC meet at Monmouth, Ore. The men’s cross country section placed fifth at the meet.

“If the men have a perfect kind of day they can hit the top five. It’d be good for the men to get that high this year to keep our placements steady after we graduated a lot of senior runners last year,” head coach Kevin Adkisson said. “The top four in the conference are pretty solid and the middle ground is where we’re at. We could be sixth or ninth, it all depends on the kind of day our runners are having.”

The women came in fourth at last year’s GNAC meet.

“For the women, we’re looking forward to going up a notch to fourth or third in our placements, it’s incredibly helpful that for our last seasons route [for the GNAC runners is] the exact same route as the GNAC meets,” Adkisson said.