Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Cross country looking ahead

Women’s XC Preview
The women’s cross-country team is already working towards preparing for Regionals, hoping to build off their past success.

As UW-Whitewater’s Women’s Cross Country team managed to remain in the top places for a good majority of their meets last season, they also achieved 12th in the NCAA tournament. Even with the solid season, head coach Jeff Miller notes that he plans for the runners to all improve their times, subsequently getting the whole team better results.

Right now we’re trying to get everybody on the same page and also a lot of the new people used to being here at school now and away from home,” Miller said. “We’ve done no intervals, no hard things yet. That’s all coming in the next few weeks. We’re running together and easing in, getting organized.”

The need to take it slow comes from the process of running long distance. It takes time and patience to be able to improve times. But there’s also a need to overcome any lasting challenges.

We’ve got a couple people that have some injury, little injuries that we’re trying to deal with,” Miller said. “We have probably four or five women that have little things going here and there. So we have been working to get around those things. They’re doing some cross training, like biking or pool running or other non weight bearing activities to kind of help with their conditioning.”

Even the other athletes have been conditioning though. They went into the summer with a workout program that can make a difference, especially with conditioning as he mentioned. They have better springboard into the coming meets now.

“We are looking towards our home meet next week, the Tom Hoffman,” Miller

said. “These first meets are just kind of learning where we’re at fitness wise and what we need to work on. Cross country is different from, like, a basketball team or a volleyball team, who have to worry about their wins and losses every day. For us it’s about going to the regional meet, that’s where you qualify for Nationals. The record prior to that really doesn’t have a lot to do with any of that. So our approach can be a lot less stressful. We just need to kind of find out where we’re at and continue to train.”

The NCAA Regional meet takes place on Nov. 11, and if they get to Nationals, that will be on Nov. 18. Like Miller said, for now the team is working on themselves since that’s all they can do. It’s always a personal competition. But fifth year Paige Fassbender helps to make sure the team is still a strong unit, especially with the newer women.

“Coming into this, as a fifth year, it’s super weird to be the oldest person on the team,” Fassbender said. “It’s kind of crazy to still be around but it is rewarding to kind of lift people up and show them how stuff goes. Like with the freshmen, the other girls and I help them adjust to the whole college life. I do like being in this higher role where I can really impact and help the younger people below me.”

The team even had a pizza party last week. It’s the small things that can help a team feel more cohesive.

“We were actually talking about it all last night at the pizza party,” Fassbender 

said. “We’ve all committed so much time to this, but there’s also those really good running days and all the memories with the team that make it worthwhile. I would say we are all definitely fortunate and grateful to be back for the season. For me it’s a little crazy because even just going into different practices and meets and stuff, I’m like, ‘wow, this is actually my last.’ We are all trying to make the most of it before it all concludes. It’s gone by so fast already.”

Despite the time flying by for some of the older girls in the sport, the time is actually going by too. Like Miller mentioned with Regionals and Nationals, both of those meets are on their way, but Fassbender agrees that they have big goals for this season and can’t wait to see how it all goes.

“It’ll be interesting to see how things play out team wise, but we’re looking at having a pretty solid conference team coming into championship season,” Fassbender said. “We have a few people who are kind of getting back into it, but once we get everybody healthy, it looks like we should have a pretty good shot at being among the top half of the conference and then in the regional. We’re shooting for one of our best paces. Coach definitely has big expectations for us, but I think with what I’ve been seeing with the new people and as well as the returners, it looks like it will shape up to be a pretty solid season. I’m hoping that the weather will be in our favor as well. That’s always unpredictable. I don’t think my body can adjust to these 90 degree to 50 degree changes!” 

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About the Contributor
Kaitlin Geisler
Kaitlin Geisler, Women's Sports Editor

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