Freshman Heather Bates practices for regionals by running on the Air Force Academy trails.
Reilly Flood | The Scribe
Nov. 17, 2014
After a third place finish at the RMAC Championships on Nov. 8, the women’s cross country team now moves to the regional championship and perhaps a berth in the national championship.
Their finish at the RMAC Championships marks the second time in the past three seasons that UCCS has finished in the top three. Head coach David Harmer was pleased with the team’s performance.
“In terms of the way the girls ran, tactically, it was perfect, really well executed,” he said. “We’ve been working on dialing in race strategy early on in the race, and we’ve been getting better and better.”
With training beginning in June, injuries have played their part this season.
“We lost a few runners to injury earlier this season, and we’ve had a bunch of younger girls really step it up,” said freshman Heather Bates.
Bates recorded a fourth place finish at the RMAC Championships. Her performance was the highest finish for a UCCS runner at the meet since 2008.
Six of the top ten finishers were from Adams State, which took the team title.
“Adams is one of the most well-known programs in the country, they’re really good,” said Bates. “I had heard all the rumors about how good they were, it was intimidating being right in the middle of a group of them.”
She also claimed the title of RMAC Freshman of the Year and said that any recognition at the collegiate level is notable.
“When you’re in high school, you get recognized all the time, everyone’s a champion,” said Bates. “Anytime you get recognized in college, you appreciate it.”
Next on the team’s radar is the regional championships, from which the top six teams will move on to nationals.
“Training has been progressing. All season we’ve been focusing on the regional meet and qualifying for nationals,” Harmer said.
At this time of year, their training will take a slightly different approach according to Harmer.
“The goal is to perform our best the last three weeks of the season,” he said. “We’re moving into a part of the season where we train with a little less volume and more intensity, to sharpen up.”
Bates felt that chemistry has been crucial to the team’s success.
“I’ve been on a lot of teams, and this one has the best chemistry I’ve ever seen,” Bates said. “The attitude everybody has is what’s fueling our success.”
“I don’t think anyone’s even getting that nervous anymore,” she continued. “We’re just like a family out there.”
The NCAA Division II South Central Regional Championships will be held in Denver on Nov. 22. If they qualify, the team will compete in the NCAA Division II National Championships on Dec. 6 in Louisville, Ky.