Cross Country Squad Hosts Track Invitational

Gracie Woidat, Lifestyle editor

The cross country team hosted 10 visiting schools for the 1st-ever “Mid-season Mania” 3200m invitational in Bob Wilson Stadium on October 23. The unique event allowed many veterans to improve upon their track season personal bests, though the start of the official track season is still several months away.

We’ve had a tradition of time trials during the cross country season for years, and we thought it would be fun to have other teams participate because it has been such a positive experience for our athletes,” said head coach Chuck Woolridge, adding he “felt like we had the energy, the equipment and the personnel to put on an event like this during the cross country season.”

The athletes were divided into 15 mixed-gender races conducted from 5:30pm to nearly 9pm.  Each heat included a field of similarly accomplished runners.  The 1st heat featured athletes with the slowest seed times.  The seed times of each heat were progressively faster, with the fastest athletes competing in the final heat.

According to senior Emma Smith, the addition of competitors from other schools was “motivational,” and “made the environment a lot more hype.”

I think that having competitors from other teams in the race is always good to elevate the intensity, amplify the excitement, so it was a win for everyone, not just Campo athletes,” added Woolridge. 

According to assistant coach Andy Lindquist, the invite’s evening atmosphere provided athletes with, “cool temperatures and little wind, where people are really focused on hitting splits and running personal bests.”

“It was super interesting running so much later in the day because it was colder and I was worried I would feel tired going into my race, but I think it was definitely beneficial. I felt good during my race and it was nice to not have to worry about the heat of the day,” said Smith, who had a stand-out performance, running the 3rd fastest girls’ time of the night in 11:24.

Smith was among 23 other Campolindo veterans who took advantage of running a track race during the cross country season to set new personal bests. The most improved Cougar athletes of the night were sophomore Ally Loyet and junior Alan Pierrat. Loyet lowered her best 3200 meter time by 1 minute and 14 seconds while Pierrat dropped 37 seconds from his previous best.

Other highlight performances included freshman Anna Wilson breaking 12 minutes, and sophomore Marco Chao and junior Owen Lekki sneaking under the 10 minute mark.

“A lot of our younger athletes really stepped up. It was really great to see Anna Wilson break 12 minutes for her 1st ever 3200. It was really great to see Alex Lodewick run what I believe was a freshman school record record in this event, running 9:35,” said Lindquist.

Woolridge plans to continue hosting the invitational, and is already debating whether or not to grow the event: “I think a lot of people came away from today really happy about the event so we expect word of mouth is going to increase interest, which means we may have to turn teams away if we want to keep the event the size it was this year,” said Woolridge.