GC cross country buoyed by team chemistry
With the post-season on the horizon, the women’s team is hoping to continue improving like they have done all season.
Coming off successful regular seasons, both the GC men’s and women’s cross country teams are readying for the upcoming conference and regional races.
At this point in their seasons, Cary said that both teams are in the peak phases of their training and are focusing on running their best at the PBC Championships on Saturday and the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 4.
On the men’s side, Bobcats’ head coach Steven Cary said he feels good about his team’s progress at this point in the season, but there are also some things the team must figure out before heading into the postseason.
“For us right now, it’s about mindset,” said Cary. “The theme all season has been to give yourself an opportunity at the end of the race to do something big, and the same thing can be said about the season as a whole. We’re just trying to give ourselves an opportunity when we go to Columbus next weekend. Part of that is having the right mindset.”
Sophomore runner Collin Silliman echoed Cary’s approval of the team’s progress at this point in the season, and he also added that he thinks the team is in a good spot going forward.
“I think the team is starting to buy in at a good time in the season,” Silliman said. “We’ve had some mishaps, but I think the team is really starting to buy in to this idea of a collective unit.”
Along with having the right mindset heading into the postseason, Cary also said that the men’s team will be challenged with finding its identity as they head into the season’s home stretch.
“Some teams have a group of really good runners at the top, but it kind of fizzles out toward the back” Cary said. “And then you have other teams that run together and finish high up in the standings. We’re trying to figure out if we’re one of those because we’ve got to do it together.”
But despite not having one guy who consistently finishes at the front of the pack during races, Cary said the Bobcats have several leaders who push the team to be its best every time out.
the men's team is looking to perform better than their ranking says they should in the upcoming postseason meets.
“The Silliman brothers, Collin and Brennan, have both been up there consistently, and so has Shawn Olmstead,” Cary said.
Cary also praised Matt Sutton, a fifth-year senior who has overcome injuries in his time with GC and has finished in the top seven in a few races this season.
But for Collin Silliman and the Bobcats, the simple goal of competing is what the team is focusing on as it heads into the PBC Championships.
“Individually, I think making all conference and all region is a good goal to have to begin laying the groundwork for next year,” Silliman said. “But for the team, I hope we compete. That’s the main goal, along with exceeding the seeding they have for us because I think they’ve been seeding us a lot lower than we should be.”
For the Bobcat women’s team, Cary said he has seen steady improvement since they stepped onto campus in the fall.
“We’ve got a lot of freshmen and sophomores up front pushing each other,” said Cary of the women’s team. “They’ve gotten faster each race, so if that trend continues, we ought to be doing well Saturday.”
Despite getting production from several young runners, the Bobcats have been led by senior Katherine Yost, who has finished first in each race for the Bobcats and smashed several records.
“Katherine is more of a leader by example,” said Cary. “The ladies on the team look up to her and aspire to be her, and that can really change a program.”
As a veteran leader for an otherwise young team, Yost attributed the success she’s had this season to a somewhat unconventional training routine over the summer.
“I didn’t do the training that my coach gave us to do because I’m on an Ultimate [Frisbee] team in Atlanta during the summers, but I think that’s just as intense as the training from my coaches,” said Yost. “When I got here, I ran my fastest time-trial in the 5K, and that’s all Ultimate.”
But even with Yost’s individual success, she, like Cary, attributes the team’s success to the progression of the younger runners buying in to what the coaches have been teaching.
“We have some really good freshmen, and a lot of our sophomores have picked up their training from last year and just killed it this season,” Yost said. “We have a really deep team, and everybody is pushing each other.”
At the PBC Championships, Cary said the team is looking to finish in the top four or five this year and improve on last year’s sixth place finish.
Yost said she also wants to do everything possible to help the team reach its goals for the season, but she also has other lofty goals for herself going into the postseason.
“I would like to win the conference, and I’m pretty positive I’ve already raced everybody in the conference, so if I can just keep doing what I’m doing I think I have a great shot,” Yost said.
“And at the regional meet, I want to finish in the top three and get an outright individual spot to nationals. It would be really cool if my team made it, but personally I would like to get an outright spot.”