Cross country team and seniors show success

Sophia Sgourakis, Staff Writer

In cross country, the team runs and workouts together. However, when it’s meet time, it is up to every runner how they perform. But for Central’s girl’s cross-country team, they all have the same intentions for every meet: run fast, run for each other. The seniors this year have been responsible for a lot of the team’s success this year; one in specific is Lauren Anderson.
However, a specific advantage to the team’s success was centered around bonding and growth. This year was meant to be a rebuilding year, as several varsity runners had graduated this past year. Despite the changes in relationships, Anderson said she has never had a team this close before. Everyone pushes each other to do their best in such a supportive manner. Laughing, Anderson said, “They practically abuse our group chat, but it’s wonderful.”
Naturally, there has been more success because of a change made to the team’s workouts this year. Head Coach, Trent Lodge, has admitted to the girls that workouts are a level harder this year, but it has shown greatly on the course. In years past, workout weeks consisted of one hard day and the other days being successively easier. However, this year, practice weeks are mostly composed of difficult workouts, intending to build up the lactic acid in the runners’ legs between sets to increase pain. Anderson emphasized, “With more difficult workouts comes better performance.”
Here are some stats of overall team efforts and success. During the Central XC Invitational, three Central runners placed within the top six spots: Anderson in first, senior Mohussin Abakar in second and senior Madeline Krause in sixth. At this same meet, Anderson set a personal record and a season record. Abakar also had a better time at this same meet than previous seasons. At the Lincoln North Star Cross Country Invite, Anderson and Abakar did it again by placing in second and third place. Abakar also set a season record for herself. At the Metro Conference Championship, Anderson had a fifth-place finish and Abakar finished in 13th place. But at this meet, several runners received personal records and season records: sophomore Brooke Brown, freshmen Elena Corea, senior Kaitlyn Engel and freshmen Margaret Ernst. Although not all Central runners were highlighted in this small excerpt, their hard work does not go unnoticed.
Anderson credits a lot of her success to her embracing cross country for what it is and her lack of complaining this season. The pain can really make these athletes want to quit, especially because it is so easy to just start walking at any point. Anderson shares that, “If you learn to have fun and keep a positive mindset, the workouts become easier to get through.”
Although Anderson has showed a lot of success throughout this season, it is still not over for her. Being a senior, eventually, she won’t have those long workouts on school nights or meets in 100-degree weather. Therefore, Anderson has a goal to make it to the State XC Meet one last time. While reminiscing on her past four years, Anderson got nostalgic saying, “I love the girls I compete with so much and I just want to have fun.”
Anderson wanted to make sure all her coaches got shout outs: Lodge, along with assistants Omar, Jensen and previously an assistant, Keating.
“None of us would be where we are, both mentally and physically, without the immeasurable support of our coaches.” Anderson’s very last statement was, “I love Keating so much you have no idea.”