Women’s cross country reclaims top spot at ODACs

In its thirtieth season, Women’s Cross Country wins big

The Women’s Cross Country team has placed first in three of their five meets this season. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Brian McWalters 2015

The Women’s Cross Country team has placed first in three of their five meets this season. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Claude Miller

After a three-year drought, the Women’s Cross Country team brought the title of ODAC Champions back to Lexington.

The Generals placed first out of the ten teams that competed in the Halloween race at Bridgewater College. The win marks their fifteenth title in the team’s thirty years competing.

After six kilometers, the Generals totaled 46 points. Behind them, in second, was the host Bridgewater with a final score of 64 points.

Rounding out the top three was Eastern Mennonite, led by individual champion Hannah Chappell-Dick, with 70 points after crossing the finish line. Cross country scores are measured from low to high.

A myriad of personal accolades accompanied the team’s championship trophy. Three Generals finished in the top ten, out of eighty-two competitors, with another two in the top eighteen. Rookie runner Samantha Yates finished in second place with an impressive time of 22:30.1, also winning ODAC Rookie of the Year and being selected as a First Team All-ODAC runner. Maggie Seybold, ‘19, finished in fourth place with a time of 22:49.4 and also earned First Team All-ODAC honors.

Second Team All-ODAC honors were given to Rachel Steffen, ‘17, and Lily Arnold, ‘17, who finished in tenth place and twelfth place respectively.

Head Coach Mike Dager was rewarded for his hard work by being named ODAC Coach of the Year.

Like most athletic achievements, the ODAC trophy did not come without challenges, especially in an endurance sport like cross country.

“The most difficult thing for me personally was pushing through the race despite the fact that I have been wrestling with a hip flexor injury the past couple of weeks,” Yates said.

While injuries were the most immediate challenges, other things such as course structure and nerves presented difficulties to even some of the more healthy runners.

“I typically run better on strength courses which have more hills and this course was flat,” Maggie Dick, ‘17, said. “Also, we predicted the meet results beforehand and we were really close in scoring with Bridgewater and Roanoke so that was a bit nerve-wracking.”

Difficulty is completely different from the viewpoint of a head coach.

“There is nothing difficult about coaching this team. They are focused on their goals and believe in one another. My main goal is to stay out of their way,” Dager said.

Arguably the most important contributor of athletic success comes before the competition is preparation. Preparation starts with the coach who implements various race strategies and training exercises.

“We had two distinct groups looking to help make an impact on the team scoring. A group of three looking to finish in the top ten and a group of three looking to finish between twelfth and twentieth. Both groups got their jobs done,” Dager said.

Like most sports teams, the women’s cross country season has built more than champions. It has built lasting friendships.

“We all have such a great relationship with one another, and they’re my closest friends on campus,” Yates said.