Throughout the fall semester, California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) very own cross country team has risen up from their own ashes to prove themselves as worthy competitors.
After last season’s loss of a strong handful of runners the girl’s team was left with three members (from a total of nine) and the boy’s team was left with only one from (five runners.) Not knowing how their next season was going to turn out they were only hoping for the best.
With a new year on their side, the CSUMB runners are seeing a silver lining. The women’s team gained seven new runners and the men’s team gained a remarkable thirteen runners, and with new teammates brings fresh new talent and determination.
Even before the school year started for the rest of CSUMB, the Cross Country at school unsure of how the new runners were going to mix with the returning teammates. To their relief, all the runners have developed a strong bond and share the same goals, to be on top!
Coach Greg Rhines stated that “On the men’s side there was only one returner (team captain James Dunn). I have nine freshmen and three transfers on the men’s side. They are getting along quite well...The women took on 5 freshmen, 1 junior, and a transfer this season. Team captain Hayley Tharp, Mackenzie Morgan, and Marie Beard have been wonderful in helping the new women find their college cross country legs. Both teams’ new found successes are, in part, due to strong team communication.”
Over the course of the past few months, the CSUMB Cross Country team has shown their strengths, determination and, most of all, school spirit. When asked about his opinion on the level of talent he has on his team, Rhines said that he believes that “it is a mixture of both talent and determination. I have seen many student-athletes strong in talent, fade away due to little or misplaced determination. On the other hand, I have witnessed many very motivated athletes with minimal talent do amazing things in their athletic careers. Obviously, the greatest athletes are gifted with both and have figured out how to employ each one.” Each week these runners have traveled from Sonoma to San Diego and week by week they keep breaking records left and right. As a proud coach, Rhines said “I knew the school records would fall, they had to. Piper [Delaney] and Cameron [Cruse] have been showing us the future of Cal State Monterey Bay Cross Country. Both broke two different school records each, and are now re-breaking their own. I believe we aren’t done for this season, and it will be continued in 2012.”
When Rhines was asked what an average practice consists of for the runners he said “We begin at 6 am. Each day’s mileage varies in pace and distance depending on what the focus is for the given workout. Women will run between 6-12 miles in an average day, men go from 7 to 14 miles. The teams also do daily core work which includes Pilates twice a week.” This shows the hard work each runner puts into their competitive drive and this prepares them for tough courses they may have to face at a competition.
Throughout the season, the CSUMB Cross Country team has seen its ups and downs but at the end of the day, they can lie in their beds and know they have accomplished a lot this semester and there is always room for more accomplishments.
Rhines was asked if his team has what it takes to instill “fear” in the eyes of their future competition, he proudly stated “‘Fear’ to a cross country runner equates to ‘Fitness’, meaning the fittest will always prevail. Cross country racing is painfully simple, it’s how you use what was given to you (talent), and what you give to it (motivation). Cross country is very complicated, it is knowing how to run 3, 4, 5, or 6 miles at one’s aerobic limit, while not blowing up, and maintaining a positive effect, all the while telling yourself to ‘go faster’. These athletes are at their absolute limits, not for 10 seconds, or 60 seconds, or 10 minutes, but for 17 to 30+ minutes!! Along with individual fitness is team fitness. The best teams in the country have a ‘one unit’ feel to their teams. They seemingly live and breathe as a single force, moving and thinking as if an entity from a ‘blob’ horror movie,...that’s fear! CSU Monterey Bay Cross Country is becoming more fit each and every day. We are coming!”