Caitlin Dorsch, Copy Desk Chief~
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference coaches released their annual preseason poll on August 16, 2018 with the University of Lynchburg Women’s Cross Country team obtaining a rank of second-place, just 13 points behind Washington and Lee University.
Having brought back most of the squad and by adding one freshmen to the mix, the UofL team seems ready to attack any course. The returning runners, who are apart of the UofL outdoor track and field program in the spring, are fresh off their first conference title since 2011.
Although being ranked second in the poll, the UofL runners feel that they should have been ranked first. Sophomore, Kaitlyn Johnson said, “We have a chip on our shoulder about being ranked second. We’ve been working so hard for it; we won outdoor track ODACs and beat [Washington and Lee] in regionals last year.” Junior, Michela Cholak insisted, “We are preparing for the season by doing high intensity training, doing our endurance and two-mile time trials, and going on runs together.”
Lynchburg College Women’s Cross Country team. Photo retrieved from Lynchburg Sports website, August 26. Photo taken by Hannah Grasberger (currently a senior at UofL)
The UofL runners believe that their team dynamic will help them excel into first place as the season progresses. Sophomore, Stephanie Burnett said this UofL team is the “closest team [she has] ever had” and that the most important entity of a strong team, no matter the sport, is when “you actually like the people you are with, spending time with them, and hanging out off of the track.”
“I think the cool thing about our team is that even if we are dealing with something, we still help each other through whatever we are dealing with. We are there for each other,” adds Senior, Morgan Watson.
“After our two-mile time trial, Coach [Jake Reed] told us that our sixth girl was one minute and a half faster than our sixth girl last year. And, we beat [Washington and Lee University] in regionals last year. We are coming back this year stronger than ever,” says Burnett.
“Coming from a small town where everybody knows each other, it’s really nice to come here and immediately feel a strong family aspect on this team. I am so excited for what is to come,” states Freshmen, Rosie Gumm.
“We are ready,” says Johnson.
The UofL Lady Hornets begin their quest this Friday, August 31, 2018, at the Covered Bridge Open in Boone, North Carolina. Then, they head just down the road to Blacksburg for the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitation on Saturday, September 15, 2018.