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Raider cross country preps for championships

Wright State Cross Country | Photo provided by Victoria Angelopoulos

Wright State Cross Country | Photo provided by Victoria Angelopoulos

With their conference championships and regionals coming up in November, Wright State’s Cross Country team is working hard to prepare for success.

According to Cross Country Coach Rick Williamson, the athletes are focusing on maintaining the fitness they have worked to build all year long, as well as sharpening their skills with workouts and races.

They will soon begin to taper back the overall work they do in order to prepare for the big meets in early November.

Cross country season is a busy time for all the runners as they must stay on top of schoolwork, put in hours of running and stay healthy both physically and mentally. The work they put in all season translates to how well they will do in the final meets.

“As with any successful athlete, all successful runners live a highly disciplined life,” said Williamson. “They train diligently and intelligently, they eat well, they get enough rest, balance their academic schedule and find time to be social in a responsible way.”

With the final meets of the season rounding the corner, members of the team are taking extra care of their bodies in every way possible. Part of this includes nursing current injuries, being careful to prevent new ones and eating a healthy diet.

“I want to maintain the shape I am currently in after all of the training I’ve put in since May, and a way to do that is dieting,” said senior cross country runner Aaron Fullenkamp. “Giving my body healthy fuel will help replenish and fill my ‘gas tank’ for the bigger more important meets.”

Another factor working in favor of the cross country team is the great leadership and teammates they have to support and push one another.

According to Fullenkamp, the team has done a great job of running together and challenging each other to stick at a faster pace. He believes this will contribute immensely to the team’s overall success at championships and regionals.

Although many people see cross country as an individual sport, the bond created by running countless hours together is one that not a lot of people understand. Throughout the entire season, the team becomes a second family for many of the runners.

“I feel like we all have our individual goals, but we know what each other’s goals are, and we push one another to reach them,” said senior cross country runner Victoria Angelopoulos.

One of the many challenges runners face is calming their nerves, especially before important races such as championships and regionals. Many athletes, including Fullenkamp and Angelopoulos, admit that visualizing themselves running the race helps them to calm their nerves and focus on performing the best they can.

Individual runners have different ways of preparing for a race; Angelopoulos calms herself by praying to give herself peace of mind.

“I love to pray by myself away from everyone to just get some space and clear my mind,” said Angelopoulos. “It is something that I have always done ever since I started racing and I feel that I need that time to myself. Whenever I grow closer to God, I always feel that I can gain peace even in the midst of racing and seem to always feel better no matter how I perform.”

The cross country team travels to Kentucky for the Horizon League Championships on Nov. 2 and to Wisconsin for the NCAA Regional on Nov. 15.