September 2, 2022 | SPORTS | By Ben Hayes-Lemmon | Photo by Michael Braithwaite
It’s almost time to watch the Colorado College men’s and women’s cross-country teams tear up the local race scene. The distance runners that make up these two teams have been training hard throughout the offseason, teeing themselves up for an incredible year. As both teams are the reigning Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Champions, expectations are high for the upcoming season.
In addition to new expectations, with a new season comes an entirely new first-year class, bringing a fresh sense of passion into both teams’ practices. Off-season recruiting has led CC to bring on 19 new runners between the two teams, creating a massive impact on preseason training.
“The freshmen this year are bringing strong positivity with them,” said Julia Solano ’24. “They’ve got a lot of spunk, and preseason has been really fun with the energy they bring.”
This sentiment was echoed by Max Saliman ’23, one of the senior captains. “The freshmen this year are awesome,” Saliman said. “Usually freshmen are a little timid, but they came in with their own team culture already.”
One of the unique traditions on the cross-country team is the annual preseason camping trip, which is an incredible way to integrate the new members into the greater team. This year’s cross-country camp took place near Turquoise Lake in Leadville, Colo. – the altitude is crucial for helping acclimate new students to running in the mountains – and was met with the added challenge of persistent rain throughout the entire trip.
“Even though it rained the entire time, the team really made the most out of it,” said Solano. “The rain gave us time to really talk about team expectations, goals, and past experiences.”
As it was the first cross-country camp for the the first-year recruits, the rain allowed friendships to quickly form. “As a class, we bring a ton of variety,” said Dominic Schwein ’26. “Preseason has been super fun, and we’ve been able to form bonds through not only camping, but also hiking a fourteener together.”
One vital aspect of offseason training for cross-country is based on building up a base of mileage, which forces the body to adapt psychologically and biologically to the grueling distance that one runs over the course of the season. As important as building this mileage is, it is the relationships built within the team that are the foundation for the culture both teams aspire to.
“This preseason we’ve gelled together as a team so well that it honestly feels like we’ve been running together for years,” said Ayden Cherry ’24.
The first meet of the season is approaching this Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at Monument Valley Park. The bonds formed throughout preseason are already clearly embedded within the team, inspiring the strength, fortitude, and persistence needed for each runner as they take on the season and crush the competition.