Thursday, August 27th: @Deerfield:
We started the year off right with a dual against Deerfield. We have A LOT of newbees who did not run this summer, so I was cautiously optimistic in the 2.25 mile race. Karyn led our team from gun to wire; although I know she wants to be faster, this was a good first step in getting her back into running. The surprises of the race were the feisty duo of Juliana and Carmen. Running in their first race for the team, both ran with guts! Whenever I saw them, they were willing to throw in a surge to try to pass an opponent. Michelle and Odalis also completed their first races as ZBXCers in fine form!
These women set the table for our 3 mile "varsity" race. Nearly every single bee in this race set a lifetime or season PR. More importantly, I witnessed tremendous efforts from every single racer. Lainey race with tenacity, earning an LPR of 20:30, taking second, and leading our team. I enjoyed her gutsy start and her focus throughout the race. Jo was our second finisher and nearly broke her LPR. More importantly, in the late stages of the race, she showed her true self by outkicking an opponent. If she continues to show guts at the end of the race, I know that time will drop even more! Since our SPPM at Wadsworth a few weeks back, Shayla has been on fire, and this race was no exception. She set an LPM of 21:44 and looked like her season goals were on her mind for each step of the race. Justine also set an LPR and looked focused from gun to wire! She ran a 22:03 and finished with a great kick! Jackie rounded out our scoring 5 with an LPR of 22:41; I really believe she can help bring our pack closer together with a stronger start to the race, and I can't wait to watch her figure that out in the next race! The surprise of the race was Damaris running 6th for us in a sweet time of 22:42; what a tremendous effort for the first race of her career! I loved her focus and willingness to take a risk and go out hard in the race. Our 7th and final official varsity runner for the day was Alexia with a huge LPR of 23:14! Clearly her hard work this summer is paying off; for some perspective, she ran 22:22 last year at Deerfield on the 2.25 course!
Monica's summer focus also paid off in her race at Deerfield; she set an LPR of 23:32--a significant improvement over her 26:45 at Deerfield a year ago! Janelle looked great in an LPR of 23:48...nearly a 2:00 improvement over last year's best. Helen looked super-strong (and healthy) with an LPM of 23:58; that time tells what she will be able to do now that she has figured out how to keep her hip in check!
Overall, our other finishers looked very strong today, with Julia, Heidi, Carolina, Kristina, Iman, Steffany and Emily finishing their first XC races ever as Zee-Bees! Special shout out to Ashley for helping Kristina get through some tough spots in her race; Kristina said she wouldn't have made it without Ashley's veteran-fueled inspiration.
While I was TOTALLY stoked about the times and efforts during the race, watching you all work as a TEAM was most impressive. Not only did you look out for each other before, during, and after your races, but you also acted as an important support system for the boys during their race. If we continue down this path, I KNOW that the 2015 season will be both fun and successful.
I am proud of the character of this team!
Want to keep track of your stats this season? Go to www.athletic.net, type in your name or Zion-Benton, and click on XC. You can look at our team stats or the numbers for any individual. :)