After a successful district run, with girls’ winning first place and the boys’ finishing third, the cross country team will once again fight to stay on top at sectionals, Saturday, Oct. 27.
“We will go into sectionals as we did districts,” freshman Maci Steuber said. “Meaning knowing our competition but keeping an open mind. Districts showed our heart and drive as a team, our capability to show up and race. Sectionals is a challenging course that many of us girls have ran in junior high. We will definitely focus on preparing ourselves throughout the week for the conditions sectionals hold.”
To prepare for sectionals, senior Mojuba Shonekan said the team has being going through Head Coach Neal Blackburn’s training regiment. The plan was specifically set up for runners to peak towards the last part of the season, where it matters the most.
“At sectionals, we’ll be focusing on advancing to the state meet as a team,” Shonekan said. “We’ll also be focusing on finishing as high as possible, and running the hardest we can at the tough course at Cole County Park. If we can do all that it will make for a interesting state meet the following weekend.”
On the girls’ side, Steuber said the preparation for sectionals is not different from any other meet. She said the workouts and long runs have the same amount of intensity or sometimes more.
“As we focus on not building up nerves, we have been striving towards completing goals,” Steuber said. “As sectionals creep up we keep reminding ourselves of our accomplishments and areas to improve. With so much heart and culture on RBHS [cross country], everyday I can rely on the team to push me towards my highest potential as a runner.”
Based on Shonekan’s district performance, he said it affects his mood a little bit as he is not entirely pleased with it. He believes he has more potential than what was shown at districts and is motivated to improve at sectionals.
“I have to move on and focus on what’s next,” Shonekan said. “I feel like the team as a whole can take some more strides this week throughout practice to prepare us for a big performance at sectionals. I think if we all lock in and focus, we can surprise ourselves a whole lot.”
Steuber is not only preparing for sectionals physically but mentally as well. Personally, Steuber approaches each race with the same perspective; she likes to know her competition and visualize her perfect race.
“The mental aspect of running differs for each runner,” Steuber said. “I focus on what drives me and reminds me of why I run.”
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