XC spikes up for the GNAC Championships

After an impressive regular season, the CWU cross country team will head to the GNAC Championships on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Monmouth, Oregon. The Wildcats are hoping to reach the goals they set for themselves during the preseason by doing well at the championships and then heading for the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17.

According to head coach Kevin Adkisson the Wildcats finished in sixth place last year. The team came in this season with the goal of finishing fifth place or above for both genders.

Overall, Adkisson was impressed with how the season went. The team was able to reach some of the goals they had set for themselves. One of these goals was having 10 women running under 20 minutes for five-kilometers (5K).

Adkisson hopes the team times improve in the six-kilometer (6K) races for the women and the eight-kilometer (8K) races for the men. Adkisson mentions he would love to have some all conference runners from the men’s and women’s side on the team. All conference runners are the top 10 runners in the GNAC conference.

Adkisson added that the 6K is the championship distance and the goal is getting as many women as they can under the 23-minute mark. For the men’s team, Adkisson wants as many guys under 26 minutes as possible. He hopes around the 25-minute range for 8K. Adkisson explained that they have four guys so far under that time and he would love to have the whole men’s varsity team follow suit. In the NCAA West Regional Championship, the race distance is 10 kilometers (10K).

“Trying to get as many guys under 33 [minutes] as we possibly can to really be competitive and even then you might need some guys under 32 [minutes],” Adkisson said.

Adkisson stated that the team has been tapering down their volume and that they really are focused more on just pushing their paces and adding speed. While the team practices their average paces, they will focus on pushing themselves during races. Adkisson mentioned that hopefully the top five on the women’s team can get some all-conference finishers.       

Senior Tyler Humphries thinks that the team has had a great season so far. Humphries said the team has been building up for the GNAC Championships all year and that they’re anticipating doing well. The upcoming meets are going to be Humphries’ last races as a Wildcat.

“Obviously, it’s sad to come to an end, but I feel like I put good four years here at central,” Humphries said.  

Senior Alexa Shindruk is excited for the GNAC Championships as well. This is going to be the second time this season the Wildcats will face all of their conference rivals and it’s going to be exciting to see how the team matches up with their competition, according to Shindruk.

Both Humphries and Shindruk expressed that the team has been focused during practices. The team has been hitting their paces well while working on moving up as a pack. They have been reducing their volume and increasing their intensity during their runs, in hopes to feel fresh in the upcoming GNAC championship meet.

As a senior this is going to be Shindruk’s last GNAC Championship race. Her time at CWU as a cross-country runner has been great. In this season alone, Shindruk has been named twice as the  Athlete of the week by the GNAC.

“It’s flown by. I feel like my first [GNAC] was just yesterday so it’s gone by really quick. I’m really excited to have such a good team,” Shindruk said.

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