Sports & Outdoors

Logger cross country team continues season

The men’s and women’s Cross Country teams are enjoying strong seasons despite dealing with some key injuries.

Their success was on display in the NWC Championships on Nov. 1 when the men’s team placed second and the women’s placed third. Now the teams prepare for  Regionals in Independence, Ore. at Oak Knoll Golf Course on Nov. 15.

Both the men’s and women’s team look forward to this, as it is another step towards a national championship.

At Regionals last year the men’s team placed seventh and the women’s fifth.

Both are looking to improve on their respective places.

This season the men’s team was hoping to capture the NWC Championship and pushed for it until the end.

“Our goal was to challenge for the NWC title at the beginning of the season. Despite a few key injuries the guys stepped up and maintained their second place finish from a year ago,” coach Mike Orechia said.

For the women’s team they were hoping to place in the top three and did so in placing third, improving from fifth a year ago, quite the accomplishment.

For the men’s team, chemistry has made a big impact on their success and ability to push through the season, as told by senior Josh Seekatz (Philomath, Ore.).

“I think [getting involved in social lives outside of Cross Country] is especially critical for any sport with a strong emphasis on team performance because it allows for us to maintain a light-hearted atmosphere while holding each other accountable on a daily basis,” Seekatz said.  Chemistry as a whole can make an impact, but the mental focus the team has is just as important.

If there is some sort of lapse, it could change the whole race. Orechia prepares the team mentally as well as physically.

“Coach O does an outstanding job of putting us in the physical condition we need to be in for success. But once the gun goes off, how the race unfolds completely depends on your mentality. Coach has been telling us since the spring that our emphasis needs to be running focused and with a purpose this season, because at the end of the day those two things determine our level of success,” Seekatz said.

Senior Molly Bradbury (Boise, Idaho) had additional thoughts on Coach Orechia.

“[Coach Orechia] is very encouraging and tells us to practice with focus and purpose. We do pool workouts in the morning twice a week and a specialized weight routine all on top of normal practice. It is a huge time commitment but a rewarding one if you are doing all the little things help you succeed,” Bradbury said.

The mental focus, as well as the physical training can take them to the next level, has brought the teams to Regionals.

“All of our workouts are designed to require a large degree of mental focus at the end [by implementing shorter rest between intervals or actually having us race one another] as a means to prepare us for the harder parts of races. With the shorter faster workouts our weekly mileage is dropping as well which will help with the freshness of our legs. Finally, racing on truly fresh legs will also show a significant increase in our individual performances,” Seekatz said.

The workouts play a huge part in their ability to compete, and it also helps both teams improve.

“Throughout my time here at UPS, our team has been growing and becoming more and more successful,” Bradbury said.

The women’s and men’s team has seen amazing improvement throughout the past couple years and look to continue it even after Bradbury’s and Seekatz’s career.