After their recent trip to Sherman, Texas for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship meet, the Trinity University women’s cross country team finished second in the conference.
“The women put up a tough fight against Colorado College,” said head cross country coach Emily Daum. “They’re very good competitors we just couldn’t match that on Saturday.”
The team hopes that their success in the SCAC championship carries over to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III (DIII) South/Southeast Regional in Winchester, Virginia on November 14. If the women are able to get through the regional round of qualifiers, they earn a trip to the DIII championship in Winneconne, Wisconsin on November 21.
“One of our major goals for the season is to make it to Nationals as a team, so the Regionals meet is very important,” first-year Molly McCullough said.
In their approach to the regional meet, the result at the SCAC championship should serve as outline, for the result of the meet was an impressive one for the Trinity Tigers, especially given the youth of the team.
“We’re a very young team with freshman and sophomores making up our top seven,” Daum said. “These girls will definitely be a force to be reckoned with.”
Daum said it best that these girls will be a force to be reckoned with, for these girls are already on their way to forming a dynasty due to their team-oriented approach to the meets.
“It is not surprising how well the team has done,” McCullough said. “Considering how everyone cares about the team’s performance more than their individual goals.”
With the selfless approach to the meets, the girls have been posting impressive results throughout the season.
One of those girls is sophomore Emma MacEachern, whose results have earned her multiple SCAC runner of the week honors. MacEachern credits the success that she has found this season to Daum’s leadership and to the work that she put in during the offseason.
“I think I came into this season far better in shape than last year, which has greatly contributed to my success,” MacEachern said. “Coach Daum had us follow a training manifesto during the summer and I slowly progressed from 30 to 50 miles over the course of two months”
In addition to the team’s training regime, Daum has stressed the importance of proper eating and sleeping habits. MacEachern believes that these habits Daum has instilled in the team has greatly improved both her and the team’s performance.
With Daum’s guidance, MacEachern has become one of the most consistent runners for the tigers this season with her top of the team finishes at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational meet and the SCAC championship meets. MacEachern’s third place finish in the meet helped carry the tigers to be the runners-up for the SCAC championship for the second consecutive year.
Even with the impressive results of the team, Daum and MacEachern both believes there is work that needs to be done before the team heads to their regional meet.
“I think looking ahead we’ll be sure to focus more on running with teammates to help have a stronger race,” Daum said. “Pack running, if it’s possible, is always advantageous.”
McCullough knows the advantages of pack running and hopes that the pack running will help the team move on to the DIII National Championship meet.
“We are focused on sticking with our running partners throughout the race and doing the best we can so that the meet in Virginia isn’t the last one of the season,” McCullough said.
But the Tigers running in a pack comes second to maintaining mental and physical health.
“The team (needs to focus on) staying healthy, getting good sleep, and remaining uninjured,” MacEachern said.
According to MacEachern, an easy way for the team to accomplish this goal is for the team to continue their injury prevention exercises and stretching. With the preparation the team has put into this season, the race cannot come soon enough for some members of the team.
“We’ve been working since the beginning of summer for this race,” MacEachern said. “I believe now it’s just a matter of time before we show what the Trinity Tigers are made of at the NCAA Regional meet next Saturday.”