by Ashlynne Macan | Staff Writer |
The CSUSB women’s cross country season is coming to an end and this year they have broken a nine-year-old school record while marking their personal record times.
Coach Tom Burleson, who oversees the women’s cross-country team, said that the girls started training last spring to prepare for the season that started in August. While they had the summer to train, they still had other things to focus on.
These girls are not just athletes; they are students first and this year has been intense. It took a tremendous amount of focus to realize what they had to do to achieve their goals while maintaining their student and work lives.
“Just having to get through the mental stages of running and pushing through the races and workouts and also having to make time to be successful in school, running and work,” said Niki Chesnut, a fourth year senior at CSUSB.
Since August, the team has had several meets against schools such as CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine, as well as UC Riverside, who they competed against within the last two weeks.
UCR was one of the teams biggest challenges thus far. Rebekah Frazier, a CSUSB junior, broke the 6,000 meter record, a feat that remained unbroken for nine years.
Niki Chesnut also made a personal best in the 6,000 meter run as well by beating her last time by 30 seconds.
Frazier is among the top seven runners, out of the thirteen women on the team. The other runners include team captain Niki Chesnut, Courtney Ciraulo, Dominique Esparza, Deserae Perez, Taylor Hebb, and Janelle Myers. “They are all contributing factors to our success,” said Burleson about his top girls.
This year, the girls’ plan is to be within the top five schools in their conference, some of the best in the nation. “To be in the top five is a major goal, “ said Burleson.
Last year they placed sixth in the conference after having to recover from a runner’s injury for two weeks. This year they have already been surpassed by three teams in their division. However, they are still battling for a top spot.
When competing in the meets, runners place up to the top five, and anything after five is not considered. Their top placing area was at an Invitational held at CSU Fullerton where they took sixth place in their division.
“All the school(s) in our conference are (going to be) a challenge for us, our goal is to be a top 5 team for CCAA,” stated Chesnut.
CSUSB is placed among the top teams in Division II when being ranked between schools. The Invitationals usually host around 280 runners, competing from Divisions 1, 2, 3 and include Junior Colleges as well, with about 30 teams altogether.
In three weeks the Lady Coyote runners head out to Sonoma, CA for the cross-country Championships.