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Dashing Through the Mud - Club XC Bound

Dec 08, 2014

Kristin Metcalf
Team

Last month a group of our local birds met at Lincoln Park to cheer on three of our teammates: Lauren Fleshman, Laura Hunter and Cathleen Knutson at the Club XC Regional Championship in Seattle.

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Watching these women trudge through the mud with determination on their faces took several of us back to last year’s Club XC National Championship in Bend, OR. Also fighting the elements but much colder than our Seattle rain, we came away from a challenging course with a sense of accomplishment from being a part of a team that was committed to racing hard. We walked away with a memory that would stick with us forever.

This year’s Club XC Nationals Championship is in Bethlehem, PA at the Lehigh University XC course (12/13/14). We will have several women from our racing team competing there. Some of them will be scoring for their local XC teams others will be representing Oiselle unattached and not scoring for a team. We have one scoring team: Oiselle-New Jersey. Some of these women are XC veterans, several are racing their first XC race ever and for some this is their first national XC meet. We will be cheering enthusiastically from a far as they “Dash through the Mud or Snow!”

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OISELLE TEAM LINE UP

Jen Found
Oiselle-New Jersey

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced? 
I have run six Club XC championships: Montana, Stanford, Portland, Tacoma, Long Beach, and Vancouver. A few of those were club/world champs selection combined before they split them.  Vancouver and Tacoma were straight up Nationals not club champs.

Goal?
To race like a badass!

Most memorable XC race for you?
Being 2 time 4A Kansas state champion in 1986/1987 (87 season I was undefeated) and finishing 19th in Vancouver at USATF XC Nationals back in 2001.

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Allie Bigelow
Bull City Track Club Masters Team

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This will be my fourth!

Goal?
My team wants to avenge our fourth place showing from last year and crack the top 3.

Most memorable XC race for you?
Honestly, it has to be racing last year on that dreadful course in Bend but having both my BCTC and Oiselle teammates around me and all the Oiselle Open women cheering wildly for us Masters Women! It was an epic day, to say the least.

Jennie Kormanik
Team Ohio-Oiselle

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This is my second.

Goal?
I'll be shooting for a top 30 finish, but when it comes to XC the primary goal is always to just to stay tough the whole way!

Most memorable XC race for you?
1997, Barnesville HS, freshman year. Our team was DIII state champs. We worked hard, and laughed hard all season long, and it paid off!

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Strong women, left to right! Mel Lawrence, Kara Foster, Caitlin Comfort, Lauren Fleshman.

Kara Foster
Unattached-Oiselle

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This will be my first!

Goal?
I would love to be in the mix of things in the lead pack.

Most memorable XC race for you? 
I don't think I can say any one memory is specifically my favorite, but I can say that my favorite thing about cross country is that personal bests and specific events don't seem to matter. When everyone steps on the cross-country start line, they are cross country runners and previous performances and times on the track or other courses mean almost nothing. Everyone has an equal playing field and that is the course in front of them.

Lauren King
Oiselle-New Jersey

How many Club XC Nationals have you run?
This will be my first Club XC National race. I'm excited to be racing on a team filled with such great women.

Goal?
My goal for this race is to run fast enough that my college coach (I ran track and field at Lehigh) doesn't say to me: "Kinger, this is why you were a high jumper/sprinter."

Most memorable XC race for you? 
This will be my first XC race as an adult. However, I did run for two years in high school. My favorite race was my last, as a senior at Holmdel Park NJ.  It was the state championship race and the stuff XC is made of: hills, rain, mud, and guts! There was so much camaraderie on the course, because everyone was going through the same struggle.  It was a beautiful thing and the perfect cap to my high school career.

Aysha Mirza
Oiselle-New Jersey

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This is my first nationals ever and I am terrified!

Goal? 
To leave my heart out on the course. To give it everything I have and then some. This is my goal race for the year. I am nowhere near racing at the same level as my 16 year-old HS XC self. That's the goal for next year. I miss those times, I miss that girl, but for now I can give it everything I've got.

Most memorable XC race for you?
I have two: Having the fastest course time going into county champs senior year of HS and winning the first xc race of that same season. My coach kept telling me all season that every girl I was up against was faster than me, and every race I took the lead and proved him wrong; Reverse psychology, anyone? The first race was crisp, clear, and my coach told me that the first girl on the opposing team was too fast for me. We toed the line, the gun went off, and I took the lead. She stayed with me, but I broke away. At an out-and-back point, my sister, racing quite a bit slower than I (whom I had guilt-tripped into joining the team) said to me, through the fence, with such conviction: "Aysha, you can do this. She's behind you. You're so far ahead. Keep going." I'll never forget her face, her words pushing me forward; the memory itself brings tears to my eyes, every time. I remember finishing, watching my competitor come in after me, and saying to myself, I can do this. Senior season is mine. The final dual meet of the season, I won by such a large margin against a girl that really should have taken it... I remember finishing the race, turning around, and then standing, shocked at how far ahead I had been. I couldn't have won the last race without winning the first. There's no way I would've had that confidence. My heart and soul loves XC. Those final straightaways, they're my favorite. December 13th, I'm giving it all I've got. Legs, don't fail me now.

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Megan Marshall
Nittany Valley Running Club

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced? 
None, This will be my first one!

Goal?
PR & have fun!

Most memorable XC race for you?
Running at Division II Regionals in Nebraska for my 5th year of eligibility.  It was cold & windy, but the team still stuck together in a pack and had fun! We missed Nationals as a team by one spot!

Beth Gillespie
Oiselle-New Jersey

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This will be my first XC race ever!

Most memorable race memory?
It was a perfect day for a race. The sun was shining, the sky a perfect fall blue, and the temps comfortable. I was one mile from the finish line, my legs getting really heavy when the ground turned from grass to a sand mix. I knew I was on track to set a PR but I had to figure out how to hold on. I had been chasing my best friend for most of the race, but she had pulled ahead of me. I was considering slowing my pace when through the trees her voice floated back to me "Come on Beth. Let's finish this!" Her encouragement filled my heart with courage, and gave my spirit the push it needed. This was going to hurt, but I knew I could do it. I felt like I was literally flying as I neared the finishline. The PR was mine, and my favorite blonde runner was cheering her head off as I finished.

Laura O'Mara
Delaware Valley Track Club

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced? 
This is my first club nationals. I haven't run a XC race in 5 years!

Goal? 
Have fun, establish a competitive racing team with my club and run around 25 minutes. 

Most memorable XC race? 
Just being a part of a team all 4 years in high school & college.  My sister and I were teammates throughout both and I loved racing with her. She & I are racing on the same team for Club Nats.

Faye Hellman
Unattached-Oiselle

How many Club XC Nationals have you raced?
This is my first!

Goal? 
As this is my first XC race since high school, my goal is to enjoy the competition and to fuel the fire for more XC races - and to not get spiked!

Most memorable XC race?
My best XC memory was when a teammate and I worked together throughout a race so that we both obtained PRs and placed in the top ten.  

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