USC Cross Country Opens Season At UC Irvine Saturday|
Sept. 3, 2015
The USC cross country team will open its season at the UC Irvine Invitational (5K) at UC Irvine Anteater Recreation Center Fields (ARC) on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 9:15 a.m.
The Trojans' young team features a 14-women roster comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, with just three seniors and no juniors. USC is expected to have 10 women compete at the first race: Katerina Berdousi, Rachel Glynn, Amber Gore, Emma Kao, Lauren Maurer, Madison Ricks, Taylor Seamans, Mikaela Smith, Natasha Strickland and Jenna Tong.
The following is the season outlook by coach David Freeman:
Building Upon The Foundation Established Last Season
We are building our cross country program. We are adding onto a foundation that we started last season and are growing and growing. We mostly have freshmen and sophomores on the team and actually only have three seniors. We have a lot more depth than we have had the last few years here and I think that is going to help with practice, especially on the competition side to have quality workouts. I think the biggest benefit is that we have more bodies out there to challenge each other than we have had previously.
We have added some people who have focused on cross country in high school, like freshman Amber Gore who won a state championship last year in high school, so that helps. Freshman Sophia Racette is a cross country runner from Missouri and her team won the Missouri state cross country championship last season. She brings a winning mentality and that will help with the racing once we start competing.
Overall our team is young so when it comes to racing and practicing, we shall see their progress the first couple of weeks, couple of months. In addition, school has just started so they are still trying to get the hang of everything. Obviously with a team full of freshmen and sophomores we will be relying on a lot of young athletes, so we are trying to be patient and not rush the gun and take things step by step. We aren’t going to go from Step A to Step Z right away, but go from point A to point B to point C and so forth. We are getting better and I think our focus is showing that we want to become a really good distance team, good cross country team. With the people we have attracted so far, obviously with Amber, Sophia and Lauren (Maurer), the ones that are more cross country women, and the milers and two-milers that Coach Caryl wants us to go after will help us.
Our goal at the end of the day is to perform better at the Pac-12 Championships. At the end of the year we want to be at our best and that is why we are taking it as a step by step progress with the younger group so that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We don’t have to be fast on Sept. 5 at Irvine, we want to be fast on Oct. 30 at the Pac-12 Championships in Pullman, Wash. We have time to fine tune everything and focus on that and not just try and be our best at the first meet.
Senior Kat (Berdousi) is back at it like she was last season and is going to be one of our top runners. Senior Jenna (Tong) seems like she is bouncing back. She put in a solid summer of training and looks fit coming in, so we want to capitalize on that. When it comes to the freshmen, I think they came here in good shape. They are here to help build our distance and cross country program. They really want to get better each day. We have a lot of good additions to the team when it comes to training. Overall, the seven new people we have on the team allows us to have a little bit more of a training group at practice to build that competition and get better as a team and to feed off each other.
It is a process, but I believe we have now established a strong foundation to build upon and hopefully we will start seeing the results this season.