Captain's Blog: Olivia Johnson - Oct. 6, 2010

Captain's Blog

by senior distance runner Olivia Johnson:

Marquette women's cross country co-captain Olivia Johnson stopped by to provide some insight on the past weekend's competition at the Carthage College and Wisconsin adidas Invitationals, in addition to her thoughts on  the upcoming schedule.

This is the first in a series of blogs on the 2010 season by the captains of the Marquette University men's and women's cross country teams.


Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010

Beyond the noticeable decrease in temperature and changing colors of the trees, another sign that Fall is upon us has been the marked improvement of the Marquette cross country team.  This past weekend, we got off on the right foot at the Carthage College meet held at UW-Parkside on Friday afternoon.  After some challenging mile repeats on Wednesday, five of our women put together an impressive 1- 2-3-5-7 finish to take the team title, despite it being the first 6k for each of them.  Holly Robertson especially got the momentum flowing for us by earning her first collegiate win.

By 7:29 on Saturday morning, we’d filled up the bus, as even those not competing made the effort to get up early and come cheer us on.  Being that we’d run at Wisconsin a few times, most of us got a good look at the course map, did a light shake-out, and then kept warm until it was time to head out for our run about 50 minutes before race time.  By the time the gun went off for the women, the temperature was chilly, but bearable, with a wind out of the northwest; perfect for running fast. The race went out quickly, as the competitive field of Nationals contenders invited by Wisconsin showed their depth.  

As we’ve asserted is a strength all year, different girls stepped up for us this past weekend to help out the team score and show our team depth.  Kate Horan ran a solid race, and I got to share the accomplishment of breaking the 22:00 barrier for the first time with her.  Bekki Misanin continued to show her consistency, and Laurie Dalrymple also fought to improve our team place up from 20th at the 3k mark, to finish in the 17th team spot.  Carly Condon, after proving her prowess at Notre Dame, really stepped up, too, to round out our top five.  Overall, we capitalized on some hard ground and the impressive field of women, and set numerous personal bests, a good indication that we came ready to roll.  

The men, too, saw quite a few personal bests drop.  Our top four men, led by the hard-working trio of Brice Cleland, Blake Johnson, and Jack Senefeld, all broke 25:00.  Based on workout results and the driven attitudes the guys bring to practice, I’m excited to see how things play out for them the rest of the season, especially at the BIG EAST Championships.

In the next 10 days, we’re mixing up the workouts a little bit to get in some 400s and hills and keep the focus more on feel than on hitting certain times.  In addition, a handful of our team will represent us in Al’s Run on Saturday.  Our coaches will also be taking part in the action this weekend, as Coach Kyle Cameron will be taking on the 8k of Al’s Run and Coach Mike Nelson will be tackling the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.  As the women’s team has yet to be able to drop either one in a long run or workout, we’re excited to see how well they perform. 

Our next race focus now is Pre-Nationals, held at Terre Haute, Ind.  In prior years, this was our first 6k, so going into it with one under our belts will be an advantage.  The guys, in particular, will bring quite a bit of experience to this familiar course as they handle another 8k.  Our fan support has been exceptional this year; we hope to hear you out cheering again on October 16!





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