Women’s cross country team starts off the season with success.
The Sam Houston State women’s cross country team travelled for their third meet to Corpus Christi on Friday for the Islander Splash hosted by Texas A&M where they took first place with a top finish from Nicole Aponte (18:47) in the 5K.
With a victory like this, the Bearkats are geared up and ready to start the season.
“As a whole, we feel really good about the things we can accomplish this season,” head coach Jesse Parker said. “The athletes worked really hard during the summer months to prepare for this season. In our first team meeting in August, I asked them to set their own goals for the year. All of them wanted to set some extremely lofty goals, which has me excited because I know that means they are confident in the training they’ve done and in the training that will come during the course of the season.”
Since standards and goals are set so high, the team is assured that success is to come.
“They are feeling confident, which has me feeling confident,” Parker said.
The team has been working hard and going through vigorous training sessions which include lengthy aerobics runs, early mornings, and brutal sprints in the summer heat and humidity.
“The backbone of our running workouts have been longer endurance runs, which the athletes have been doing consistently since early June,” Parker said. “It’s not uncommon for many of the guys to run 15-18 miles every Sunday morning, and typically they run 75-90 miles in a week, with the distance of each daily run varying. The women often run 11-14 miles on Sunday and log 50-65 miles in a week. On top of this they have been performing 3-5 mile interval workouts, which are basically short bouts of hard, fast running followed by easy jogging recoveries.”
The athletes are in shape, maintaining their confidence, and setting challenging goals for themselves.
With all of these aspects combined, it is looking like a promising season to both Parker and his athletes. However, just like with every team, there are always things to improve on.
“We also need to improve on our endurance,” Parker said. “Our championship races last 20-30 minutes and the key is being able to make these races feel short to the athlete. Then they are much more likely to be able and willing to run hard the entire race.”
While persistence and fervor are running high for the team, motivation is an important aspect in the commencement of the season and upcoming meets.
Parker speaks of the team’s physical training techniques, ways they keep in shape during off-season, and also reveals his stance on motivating his team.
“I’m not typically big on motivational techniques,” Parker said. “I tend to take more of a “business” mindset into our training and into our racing. Most of the athletes tend to like this approach as it allows them to stay more balanced and consistent mentally, rather than dealing with the daily fluctuations associated with the emotional highs and lows that accompany most athletic events.”
Needless to say, the Sam Houston cross country team is enthusiastic and feeling sufficiently prepared for this season.
With the results from Friday’s meet, morale is boosted and spirits are high. They have five more meets, including the NCAA regionals and championships.