Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 20, 2019

CHLOE_Cross Country

Manchester cross country runners Emily Ewen, Myah Krintz and Ana Acevedo. 

Photo by Chloe Arndt

Men's, Women's Cross Country Teams Prepare for Taylor Invitational

Carly Greaves


Working hard and running harder, Manchester’s cross country team is diligently practicing for upcoming meets, including the Taylor Invitational today, Sept. 20.

Tough training, and the success that often comes with it, is nothing new to Manchester’s cross country runners. The past five years have had the team win three conference titles, and the women’s team is predicted to win another by the HCAC Women’s Cross Country Preseason Poll. This season has also been going well, with the men’s team finishing No. 16 out of 24 and the women’s team placing No. 15 out of 24 at the Calvin Knight International on Sep. 7. “A lot of our women ran PRs [personal records],” said Hannah Wappes, one of the captains for the women’s team.

Last week, however, was race-free for the cross country team, allowing them the chance to rest and refocus their efforts through training. The team met in the Multipurpose Room within the Physical Education and Recreation Center, or PERC, twice last week to work on their running skills. Practice began with a team meeting in order to discuss the schedule for the week or to potentially address any issues. The core session, an opportunity for runners to improve their muscular strength, immediately followed.

After this, the team performed an extensive warm-up in order to prevent athlete injuries. It was only then that the workout truly began. While many believe that all cross country practices are simply running, they are actually diverse, with different strategies and purposes. The team ran mile repeats on Tuesday and a threshold workout, or running at faster than race pace but not maxing effort, on Friday.

This might sound terribly arduous to some, but for the cross country team, it’s a necessary pain for tremendous gain. “What I expect is for them to come in and do what they need to do, on any particular day, in order to get better,” said Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Brian Cashdollar. This improvement will be vital if the team desires victory in the upcoming meets of the season.

The most impending of these races is the Taylor Invitational. However, the Taylor Invitational’s imperativeness pales in comparison to meets later in the fall, as the team is still working on getting to their best athletic capability. That being said, it’s still an excellent opportunity for the runners to compete with various schools and see what they’re made of.

“I’m pretty excited for it. I think it’ll be a fun meet,” said Ben Miles, first-year runner. “Race days are always fun because everyone’s in a good mood. We’re all ready to run our best.” Wappes agreed. “It’ll be a good opportunity for us to push ourselves,” she cheerfully affirmed. Pushing both themselves and each other to be better is highly encouraged for members of Manchester’s cross country team. “Coach Cashdollar is one of the brightest things about our team; he’s just always really positive and he pushes us to be better people, on and off the course,” Wappes said.

This positive attitude and the sense of togetherness it brings is much appreciated. “The cross country team is a really tight-knit community,” Miles said. “They’ll support us even when we’re not at practices. They’re always there for you.” It’s impossible to know what the future holds for the cross country team, either at the Taylor Invitational or during the championships in November. But the team will face these competitions together, all the way to the finish line.