Cross Country: Experience, chemistry propel Wildcats

John Paschall, Reporter

Flash back one year to the day before the 2011 Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. The cross-country team that traveled to the meet thought it was a a deep squad.

Fast-forward to today, when the team that will head to Madison, Wis., for the 2012 Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Friday believes it is more than just deep.

“We are a lot more competitive,” junior Lexie Goldsmith said. “We are all getting older. We have more experience and we always continue to improve.”

Goldsmith has improved on her performances from last season. At her first race of the year, she showed up in midseason form. The junior was only one second off her personal best 5K time. In South Bend just a few weeks ago, Goldsmith did not just beat her top 5K time — she shattered it by 43 seconds.

A lot of the success can be attributed to the relationship that has strengthened this year between Goldsmith and junior Michelle Moriset. The friendship has always been there, but now that Moriset can stay healthy on the course, Goldsmith has a friend whom she can train and work out with consistently.

“It’s awesome to have someone who is my age to do all the workouts with me,” Goldsmith said. “It’s really nice to have a teammate there who’s going through the same things you are and is there for you during the race.”

Though Goldsmith and Moriset have already created a sisterly bond off the course, they hope to use this race to build that needed mid-race chemistry in order to continue their strong momentum.

Even with top performances from the juniors, the team has greatly benefited from the leadership of senior star Audrey Huth. Huth thrives under tremendous competition, and the meet in Madison will surely give her plenty to handle. Huth knows her teammates are ready after watching them work out during the off-week. The most noticeable difference, in her eyes, is the team’s preparation.

“We are a little more ready for Friday than we have been in the past,” Huth said. “We have a lot more experience now. Having that is definitely an advantage for us.”

Huth doesn’t have a particular place she’s aiming for in the race, but she does have one goal on her mind.

“I’m really just trying to see how many girls I can beat,” Huth said, laughing.

The Wildcats will also send half their squad to Peoria, Ill. to compete in the Bradley Classic later Friday.