Fierce first timers take on women’s cross-country

Case Griffiths

Mesa Women's Cross Country Team members ( , Mandy Blume, and ) work a spirited warm up at a practice in San Diego's Balboa Park the day before a major track meet held against dozens of out of state competitors on Sept. 18.

Gisela Lagos

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The new but fierce group of ladies who make up the Mesa College cross-country team are geared up for a dynamic season of meets, training, and a state championship.

With only two meets under their sneakers and four more to go before the So Cal Regional Championships, the team spends five days a week running together, bonding and helping each other with their school work.

With Renee Ross as the head women’s cross-country coach and Marie Goigonia as the assistant coach the team is in good hands. Ross has many years’ experience in running, as an athlete and a coach. Each day they work on running skills, drills and form. By evaluating themselves, each other and with Ross helping them work on technique the team is getting better and better.

“This sport is not an easy sport,” Ross said. “Even though they are training for 3.1 miles they are running many miles . they are a great group to watch because you never know what’s going to happen with them.”

Cross-country has several unique aspects as a sport. It’s primarily a distance running sport with added challenges in the varying terrain of the various meet locations. The individual runner competes with themselves for their personal best time, with everyone else in the race for the overall best time and as a team in order to get the best possible score for the school.

Niki Novak, 20-year-old kinesiology major, has a lot of running experience and notes the differences between cross-country running and other running sports. Novak said she enjoys the fun atmosphere at each of the meets, the camaraderie and positive energy. “It’s not an ugly sport,” Novak said.

The team bonds on and off the course, gaining new friendship and by seeing each other’s strategies they are able to enhance their own personal running style.

The team members come to the group with a wide range of running backgrounds. Amanda Meidinger, 23-year-old business major, describes her experience transferring from track and field to cross-country racing with the team.

“This has been so much more fun and so much more fulfilling then I expected it to be . It’s a part of my life now that I can’t do without,” Meidinger said.

On the more personal side of cross-country running, the individual team member races against their previous time. Mandy Blume, an18-year-old broadcasting and journalism major, is one of the top runners on the team and set her personal record as one of her goals. Blume said she strives for her “golden time” of running faster than the number one runner on the course.

The team is looking forward to obtaining a spot in the State Championships on November 20.

“They have a lot of talent and I can’t wait to see what they are going to do towards the [end of the season],” Ross said.

Two of the meets are held in San Diego. The So Cal Preview at Mission Bay will be held on October 9 at noon and the So Cal Regional Championships at Mission Bay will be held on November 6 at noon. Mesa College students are encouraged to attend and show their support.

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