By: Kailyn Scott
On Oct. 30, the University of Mary Washington’s cross-country team will be competing in the Inaugural Coast to Coast championship at UC Santa Cruz. Eight runners from the men’s team and eight runners from the women’s team will compete against other members of the Coast to Coast Athletic Conference at Baylands Regional Park in Sunnyvale, Calif.
UMW has previously competed in the Capital Athletic Conference, which transformed into the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) on Nov. 18, 2020.
The runners chosen are the ones that are predicted to put the team in the “best position” to place, according to cross country Head Coach Kunle Lawson. Due to financial limitations, only 16 runners are able to travel to California for the competition, but Lawson said that, if he could take everyone on the team, he would do so.
“I don’t want to undervalue the contribution of those who may not be traveling to the championship just because they’re not traveling to the championship,” said Lawson.
For many runners, this meet is not only a chance to compete with runners across the country, it is also an opportunity to visit California.
“I’m excited … I’ve never been to California,” said Patrick Brown, a junior runner and political science major.
The last championship meet that the cross country team was able to compete in was two years ago at Christopher Newport University.
“We are getting there a couple of days early to acclimate to California and get a good pre-race run in,” said senior interdisciplinary science studies major Kenzie Lloyd.
According to Lawson, runners have been diligently working towards meeting their goals all season. Runners are expected to lift two to three times a week in the weight room. Having a balanced diet and taking care of injuries and possible injuries with the athletic trainers are methods runners use to stay healthy throughout the season.
According to Brown, running is “a lot of sleep and rest … half of running is resting so you’re ready for the next time you have to run.”
Lloyd prepares for races by having “a good night’s sleep, good breakfast … not too late, so I usually stop eating like three hours before I race and I listen to music on the way.”
UMW’s cross country team is big on building recovery into their training so that they make progress in and out of practice. The coaching staff over the years have developed a training strategy that is heavy at the start of the season and gradually gets lighter towards the end when all of the important races are held. The coaches want their runners to feel refreshed during those races.
“Training is changed throughout the season, so we just hit the point where we’re hitting our highest amount of mileage or running and we’re now shifting towards cutting down and doing more short speedier stuff,” said Brown. “We’ve finished our base training phase and we’re not into the sharpening phase for competitions at the end of the season.”
After the championship in Santa Cruz, the team is expected to compete again on Nov. 13 and 20 at the NCAA Regional Championship and the NCAA Division III National Championship.