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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Panthers hope to bounce back at Louisville meet

Eastern’s women’s cross country team feels ready for the Louisville Cross Country Classic this Saturday. (File)

The women’s cross country team will be racing in the Louisville Cross Country Classic on Saturday, at 10:15 AM.  Eastern can only bring ten women with them to this historically competitive meet.

Freshman Bella Marcum discussed how she is very confident in the group Head Coach Erin Howarth chose to compete in Louisville.

“These 10 women are really strong and really fit, we are really good at packing up, that’s our thing,” Marcum said. “I feel like going into Louisville we’ll have the strongest pack there.”

“I’m confident in our group, we’ve showed in our workouts that we can work together well,” redshirt senior Breanna Sheldon said.  “I’d say this group is ready for Louisville.”

When asked about the past week of practice, every runner interviewed lit up. According to them it has been the best week of practice so far.

“We say this every week, but this has actually been our strongest week so far.” Marcum said. “We killed our tempo last week; we killed our workout [on Tuesday], we are probably the fittest we’ve ever been as a team.”

“Our workouts were amazing, and our mileage was high, so we were definitely prepared for Louisville,” freshman Brenda Torres said.

The team has been focusing energy on starting a race fast. Howarth and veteran runners on the team said that Louisville ‘goes out hard’ so the team has been working to familiarize themselves with that feeling.

“This week we’re really just focusing on being ready and prepared for Louisville,” Torres said. “We’ve been told Louisville goes out hard, so we’ve been practicing going out hard and being comfortable going out hard.”

Although the women will be running a 5k, one kilometer shorter than their last race at Illinois State University two weeks ago, they still want to focus on keeping the mental state sharp in the Louisville meet.

“We’ve been really focused on mentality,” Marcum said. “We’ve had a lot of hard workouts, a lot of race pace running. We put ourselves in a hard spot mentally and try to push through.”

When asked what she took away from the team’s disappointing showing at ISU two weeks ago, Sheldon discussed how the team needed work in the middle of their races.

“I took away that we really need to have faiths in our packs and ourselves,” Sheldon said. “I think if we can keep pushing in the middle of the race we can finish well. I think that’s what we took away, we need to push in the middle when everything hurts.”

Marcum is going to be racing in the Louisville meet. She placed third for EIU at the Walt Crawford, but she was not able to finish at the ISU meet. Bella did not finish due to mental health concerns. She will be a key component to Eastern’s success this coming meet.

“Yeah, so, I actually didn’t finish at ISU,” Marcum said. “I went to that dark place, but I feel like we’ve been working really hard on the mentality. We’ve been going off effort in our runs, I feel like I’ve gotten to that place where I can push past that point.”

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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