• Keegan Casteel | Staff Writer

Family bond on course encourages success

The GC women’s cross-country team pre- pares to take on the upcoming season as a competitive front-runner after placing fourth in the PBC preseason rankings and eighth in the SE Region.

Despite competing with a young roster last season, the team exceeded expectations and finished third in the conference for the first time in over eight years.

“This year’s group is by far one of the best teams that this school has ever seen,” said head coach

Steven Cary. “I believe that we have the talent to prove that this season, and their attitudes just speak volumes. These ladies are over owing with positivity.”

The team kicked off the 2018 season on Aug. 31 at the VSU Battle Clash hosted by Valdosta State University and placed third overall out of seven schools. The result served as a great testament to the team’s hard work and improvement.

Senior Rachel Boulineau led the Bobcats on the board placing 12th out of 69 competitors followed by junior Grace Lynch in 15th and sophomore Tessa Allen in 16th.

“There is certainly a different dynamic this year,” Cary said. “In the past two or three years, there was a huge time gap between our No. 1 runner and everybody else. Whereas now, I feel very con dent in our ability to compete as a unit.”

Entering her second and nal year running for the Bobcats, Boulineau has set personal goals to leave her mark at GC.

“As far as a time, I’d love to go under 19 minutes for the 5K because that’s been a longtime goal of mine,” Boulineau said. “We have a great group of women, so I’d like to continue building on that and keep the team going strong.”

One of Boulineau’s fondest memories and achievements occurred last year when she was the only girl to run the 10K on the track.

“My whole team had encircled the track, so there was someone everywhere I looked, and I always heard my name being called,” Boulineau said. “I thought that served as a testament to how close and encouraging we are with each other.”

The group of athletes emphasizes the importance of ve core values that they strive to live by and incorporate into succeeding as a team. These values include family, fun, commitment, accountability and teamwork.

Highlighting her team’s core virtues, senior Sarah Wilder anticipates the season to be filled with high achievements and continued relationship building between her teammates.

“We’re definitely shooting for the top this year and won’t be holding anything back,” Wilder said. “Everybody wants to push one another to do their best, whether is be on or off the track,” “Since it’s my last season, I’d love to leave an impact by continuing to encourage the family bond the team has.”

Wilder said she loves that cross-country is a sport that allows you to compete against yourself, and she’s always trying to break her personal record. Recently, she achieved a new personal record of completing a 5K in 20 minutes and 44 seconds.

“It was a really great day when I broke my record,” Wilder said. “I was definitely in the groove and hitting my times perfectly every lap. Everyone was holding their breath on the last lap to see if I would cross the finish line in under 21 minutes. It was just a crazy experience to feel the love and support from my team. We make it a point to celebrate each other’s victories.”

Cary said he believes that this year’s team is something special.

“The teamwork aspect and close-knit family environment is all contributing to this success,” Cary said.

#running #GCCrossCountry #competition #5k


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