By Ashlee James
"Not Afraid" by Eminem resounded in my head during the entire race yesterday at Westfield's James Early Invitational, getting me through the 3.1 mile course. I can't say what it was that got everyone else through the race, but I can say that we all helped each other through it, running great times and running in packs of 2-4 pushing our teammates to "take a stand" and run a great time.
Westfield's course is what I would call a true cross country course. We run across a field to start and then almost immediately into the woods for a primarily trail course. Then its up a hill and about a half mile of flat field to kick and pass lots of runners. Usually the course is very muddy, but yesterday it was dry making it a fast course.
Everyone ran great and we are all very proud of each other. Amanda Quinones broke the 20 minute barrier running to a 20th place finish overall. Our top five was rounded off by freshmen Katie France and Alexa Palasky, both running collegiate personal bests, Cora Gingras, running minutes faster than at Franklin Park, and finally, Denica Gagnon, who broke into the top five for the first time this season. The rest of our team, the 6-through-12 runners, were within 1 minute and 26 seconds of each other, very tight finishing and evidence of the pack running throughout most of the race.
We are very excited for our home meet this Saturday at Mansfield Hollow. Men race at 10:30, women at 11:15. We would love to see as many supporters out there as possible! This is our last race before our conference meet and it is absolutely crazy how fast this season is going by!
Until next time.... Ashlee