The women’s cross country team is making the 72-mile trip Saturday to Keene. The Keene State Invitational is what the Pride have their hearts set on this week. Coming off a decent performance at the Purple Valley Classic last Saturday, the ladies are hungry to make their mark in Keene.
The Pride finished 15th as a team at the Purple Valley Classic, which was considered a tough course. Junior Gabby Gaudreault has led the team this year, and was the top finisher for the Pride last Saturday with a time of 25 minutes flat. Improvements are being made every race with the team running consistently as a pack.
The team has been preparing this weekend for a race that they could have tremendous success in. Coach Jim Pennington is aware of what they are going up against Saturday, and confident that they can make some key steps forward with this experience.
“Every course is different. This week’s course is very flat and almost all on grass. It has been a lot easier to prepare for this course,” Pennington said.
With improvements being made each race, the Pride feel confident with every runner who steps on the starting line. They might not have had top individual finishes, but running as a pack has fueled this squad even more.
Pennington is happy with the way the top runners have been closing the gap with one another.
“We are trying to run as close as we can with each other. Runners one to four are under 20 seconds with each other,” Pennington also added.
Finding that fifth runner to help close in on the gap will really provide a boost for this team.
Every runner on this team has improved from last year. Running on the same courses as last year can really help the team analyze a way to attack that certain course in a different way.
Besides having Gaudreault leading the path for the Pride, they also have underclassmen who have performed above their expected abilities. Freshman Abby Wright has been right behind Gaudreault, pushing her every step of the way. Also, sophomore Sarah Knop has been the consistent third runner on the team. Senior captain Katie Burns has lived up to her leadership and has provided a spark for the team.
The gaps are being closed in race after race. Last weekend at the Purple Valley Classic, runners one to five ran in one minute and 20 seconds within one another. This is definitely something to keep on close watch for this weekend.
The Pride will be seeking to improve on closing the gaps even more. The Keene State Invitational is being held at Keene State College at 11 a.m. on Saturday.