Cross country has high expectations for conference

Eli Hartman-Seeskin, Sports Reporter

The Girls Cross Country team may already be ranked third in conference, but the team has even higher expectations for themselves for an invite this Friday and a conference meet next Saturday on Oct. 15.

All of the runners are working hard to prepare themselves, both physically and mentally.

“We are progressing as a good rate,” coach Rosette Ochoa said. “Right now is one of the hardest phases of training. The varsity runners are tired and sore, but are still competing well on tired legs.”

The Oct. 8 Wheeling Wildcat Invite is at Heritage Park in Wheeling. Last year, at the same meet, then-Sophmore Enyaeva Michelin finished 18th with a time of 19 minutes, 23 seconds for the three mile race.

“We hope to place much higher this year, we feel our team has improved significantly,” Michelin says.

If you cannot make it out to Wheeling for the Oct. 8 meet, the conference meet on Oct. 15 is much closer by. The team will be competing at Niles West against Niles West, Niles North, Glenbrook South, New Trier, and Main South. The top 14 finishers overall will be named all-conference. Going into the meet, Michelin is ranked fourth in conference, and Freshman Samantha Steman is currently ranked tenth.

“It’s a big one to look forward to,” Ochoa said. “For conference, it would be nice to take second, we want to move up the rankings. I want to compete downstate this year.”

For the team to make it to state, first they need to place among the top three teams in regionals, then place top three in sectionals, before being able to compete for the state title.

The success and progress the team expects going forward is no coincidence. “A lot of the girls work year round to prepare,” Enyaeva Michelin says. “I do track and field after cross country season, and then I run USA track in the summer. It helps my speed, because the races are shorter.”

While at meets, runners run three miles, focusing more on endurance than flat-out speed, by also running tack, Michelin has been able to also build her speed, propelling her to the team’s top runner this year.

This self motivation fits in with coach Ochoa’s message about positive attitude. Positive attitude is what Ochoa says she sees in her team to give her confidence for upcoming meets. “When the athletes come and train with a good attitude, we know that’s going to translate into a good race,” Ochoa says.

“Our number may have decreased, but we are a stronger team for it,” Michelin said. Students should be sure to come support the determined team, both on Oct. 8 and 15.