The PLNU Women’s Cross Country team finished out a strong regular season by finishing in second place at the Triton Classic at the UCSD campus. Senior Hannah Benoit Bucher finished in second place individually with a time of 22.06.9. She wasn’t the only top 10 finish among the Sea Lions, however, with senior Brianna Bartello and junior Zita Molnar finishing 8th and 10th, respectively. Bartello had a time of 22.36.1 and Molnar finished with 22.50.2. Freshman Emily Donahue and junior Cassidy Towner rounded out the top five Sea Lions runners for this race, finishing 26th and 32nd. Chico State won the race with a score of 39, while PLNU totaled 69 points.
As a lot of teams hope to finish their seasons strong just as this team did at the Triton Classic, they have high hopes going into the PacWest Championships.
“It was a really big motivation because I think our biggest competitor right now is Azuza Pacific, along with Biola,” said senior Marissa Bartello. “It was really big and we weren’t even racing all of our top runners, so it’s like okay, we got this. I think we have a really good chance to win conference.”
The team has a week off to prepare for their upcoming meet, so they have a few different ways of keeping themselves prepared. “We’re still running,” said senior Josie Frye. “I think we just tell ourselves [that] we’ve done all the work up to this point, all the strength and endurance and everything. It’s being able to be mentally present the day of the race.”
With the race being a week away, the plan is to practice harder this week than during the few days before leading up to the race. “We’ve had three back-to-back-to-back pretty hard workouts,” said Bartello. “And next week we’re really gonna taper just to be totally fresh for that race.”
Preparing for the race itself is not the only thing at work; there is also preparation for the course itself. “With this one [upcoming], we know that it’s a fast course but there’s also a lot of hills,” said Frye. “So most of our workouts have involved hills, where we would normally do our workouts on flat grounds.” The team is looking forward to both the PacWest Championships coming up next week, along with the West Regionals following that.
Their first major test, the PacWest Championships, take place on Nov. 2 in Fresno, California.