• Rachel Masson

"Amazing how close we got as a team": Concluding women's Cross Country

Updated: Apr 6

2020 Women's Cross Country Roster

By Rachel Masson

Sports Reporter

With the cross country season being concluded, all the hard work the Lady Bulldogs put into their season helped them get 8th place in the GAC Cross Country Championships.

Some thoughts that Head Coach Jennifer Johnson had once the runners crossed the line was that she was happy with how everyone finished.

“Obviously, it was just kind of a bummer for the Oklahoma freshmen, especially since they raced the two mile in high school, so that was their first 5K,” Johnson said. “So, I think the more comfortable they get with the 5K distance, I think, will help a lot. It’s just going to come with experience, and unfortunately for this season, experience was only one meet, but that’s one more meet than they had before.”

After the cross country season ended, the runners had a small break of two weeks off from competition. One of Johnson's biggest concerns for her runners was injuries. This year, junior runner Bailey Richardson and freshman runner Giselle Zavaleta have both faced injuries. Richardson had a stress fracture last semester during the delayed period of the cross country season and Zavaleta had an unknown foot injury this semester during the season.

“I definitely didn’t have the season I wanted to have starting my college career and it was extremely hard considering I’d never been hurt,” Zavaleta said.

However, both athletes were able to bounce back into competition with Richardson competing in the duel against Northwestern Oklahoma State University and both athletes competing in the GAC Conference Championship.

Some feelings that Richardson felt before the championship race were nervousness, but also excitement.

“It was exciting to be back on the course and back in the competing environment,” Richardson said. “I felt like we were ready to go and make a good showing for us despite only having the duel to really test our limits.”

With the championship race being the only race that Zavaleta was able to compete in, she also felt a sense of nervousness. Although, she also felt grateful.

“I think we all were grateful we at least got to run one of the races this season, but disappointed because we were hoping for more chances to compete before the GAC championship,” Zavaleta said.

Although the runners still have the track season to run again, both Richardson and Zavaleta shared feelings of togetherness after the cross country season.

“I think as a team we showed some promising results for the upcoming track season as well as for next cross season,” Richardson said. “We have a really tight-knit group that loves to run and compete together which makes all the difference in the world.”

“I think it’s amazing how close we’ve gotten as a team, even though our season was short,” Zavaleta said. “Every practice we had, all my teammates and coach would show up in a happy mood with a smile on their faces, even though COVID had affected our season and it wasn’t ever assured we’d get to run any races.”

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