Cross Country looks to have the edge at home

Alex Hartman, Cross Country Reporter

With the Eastern cross country season right around the corner, the Panthers are preparing intensely for their opening race right here at home.

The race will commence this Friday on the Tom Woodall Panther Trail in the Eastern Illinois Walt Crawford Open. The women kick off their season first at 4:45 p.m. and the men follow at 5:30 p.m.

In the 2016 season, both the men and the women ran away with the first-place finish. Having any type of sport at home can make the athletes more confident, and that is especially true for Eastern’s cross country team.

For the athletes it is always an advantage to start off a season on their own home ground, from the comfort of being able to have a good night’s sleep to knowing one’s environment already, every little thing helps them feel prepared to have the best race possible.

Eastern’s cross country team loves to run at home, especially as the opening race of the season.

“I think it is definitely helpful for the team, mentally and physically, to have our opener at home.  We do our workouts on the course, so we know our team’s strengths and weaknesses and where we need to support each other,” said Caroline Collet, senior female cross country runner.

The team hopes their experience and preparation on their own course will result in another victory at home.

The team also all agreed that while running at home is great, a great part of being a cross country runner is the experience of running all over the country. And getting the experience makes them all better runners individually and as a team.

Running in unfamiliar territory does not come without some obstacles and adversity, though.

“I like the adventure of running somewhere new, but it can be daunting when you are trying to run fast on an unfamiliar course. You have to adapt to your strengths and you have to approach every course differently,” Collet said.

The team will not return home to host a race the rest of this season of cross country.

After a two-week break they travel to Bradley University on Sept. 15 for the Bradley Intercollegiate.

Alex Hartman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]