Women's cross country looking to restore confidence

By Jack Wickham

The women’s cross country team has had a rough time this season. With injuries and a relatively young team, their record is not as strong as it could be. However, the women are determined to continue running with confidence.”Being a senior captain, this is the first season where there’s a lot of potential,” captain Emily Dunn ’09 said. “The end of the season holds good things for us, and we have nowhere to go but up. We need to work on being more confident in our abilities. We hold back because we tend to overanalyze things. The team has been working on relaxing and doing visualizations of their goals.”

This optimism is, according to Dunn, genuine. While their results have not been stellar (17th out of 24, seventh out of 13, and 21st out of 36), these standings do not necessarily reflect the true talent on the team, as injuries have held them back. In fact, five of the girls on the team placed in the top third of 497 runners at their most recent meet, the University of Minnesota Roy Griak Invitational.

The team is led by Erin Lowrey ’10. Lowrey seems to be improving every race. The top finisher for Mac in all of the team’s races so far, Lowrey placed 18th overall at the Griak Invitational with a time of 23:22, fifth out of all MIAC runners. She performed well enough to garner All-MIAC status in both the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons, as well as a bid to the NCAA Division III championships last year.

Lowery looks to lead the Scots again to the MIAC championships, where last year they placed eighth out of all twelve teams, and where she individually placed seventh overall with a time of 22:57 over six kilometers (3.7 miles).

“I’ve been pretty happy with the season so far,” Lowrey said. “Last summer I had some injuries. I need to work on finishing stronger, but that will come”.

The rest of the team is coming along. Margaret Ho ’11 has been consistently running as the team’s second place finisher. Ho, a transfer student from St. Olaf finished 139th in the Griak with a time of 24:53.

Dunn is another consistent finisher for Macalester. Having finished fourth and fifth at the Grinnell Les Duke Invitational and the Griak Invitational, respectively, she has been this year’s most consistent senior runner.

It is important to remember that the team is young, and that the injuries and youth of the team are most likely the greatest contributors to the mediocrity of the team’s record.

“The potential is still there. There have been injuries, so it may take another year [to realize our potential],” Lowrey said. “We have a smaller freshman class than in the past, but we have a great group, with a lot of great potential. The past two weeks the team has done a great job of packing it up and working off of each other, and it definitely paid off.”

The team has been performing relatively well, considering its disadvantages, and if they can come together as Lowrey said they have been, then the end of the season could see some more satisfying results.

Their next meet, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Tori Neubauer Invitational, takes place Oct. 18, and will set the pace for the rest of the women’s season.