Eau Claire Memorial girls cross country set on returning to state

By: Jenn Chapman Email
By: Jenn Chapman Email

After a 5th place finish at state last year, the Eau Claire Memorial cross country girls are back at it...the returners.

"We're doing mile repeats at threshold pace."

for the newbies...

"5x800 thresholds."

A tough workout to start the season but essential to build their VO2 max and confidence.

"Psychologically I think it allows them to establish a pace, which is so critical in a cross country race," says head coach, Mark Johnson. "A lot of athletes start out in the beginning and they can start off well but it's how do you finish."

Aubrey Roberts was a freshman sensation in 2012, finishing 2nd at the state meet and shattering school records...

"There's a little pressure, an expectation to do as well as I did last year but I guess I can use that as motivation," says Roberts.

I took a break from behind the camera and joined Aubrey on her final mile repeat...we dropped a 6:01.

"She's intimidated by nobody. If it's a big race, she runs even better," says Johnson, "You could put her on the course with the Wisconsin Badgers and she's not gonna run any differently and she's gonna give it her best shot."

But for the team to take a podium spot and potentially the title, the front pack is going to have to close in on their young leader.

"It's great camaraderie and it's really fun. So I enjoy it and I think everyone else does too," says junior Kaitlyn Gynnild, "I think are goals are just to do our best and hopefully we can make it to state again like last year."

"Cross Country isn't always known as a team sport, but it is the ultimate one. If you don't have five that finish you don't even get a team score. So trying to develop first place, last place, doesn't really matter, every runner contributes," says Johnson.

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