Cross Country: Northwestern heads east for Virginia Challenge


Daily file photo by Tucker Johnson

Northwestern runners compete in a cross country event. The Wildcats will be taking part in their first event since April 2 and send four runners to Virginia.

Sophie Mann, Reporter


After a nearly three-week hiatus from competition, Northwestern heads to Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend for the Virginia Challenge.

The event will be slightly smaller compared to the 1,700-athlete competition in San Francisco earlier this month.

Only four out of 1,200 participating athletes this weekend are Wildcats. Among them is junior Jena Pianin, who came in first on the team a few weeks ago in the 5,000-meter event. She said she is looking to have an even stronger performance this weekend.

“I was not happy with my run in San Francisco, but the team has refocused and continued to work hard each day on staying healthy and excited,” Pianin said. “For me, I have worked on staying recovered and rested for the meet, and I’m excited to use my extra energy for a solid effort.”

Coach ‘A Havahla Haynes said the team has been feeling better recently, especially after deescalating its workout regimens to focus on staying healthy and avoiding injury.

“Everyone as of recently has been feeling pretty good,” Haynes said. “We backed up training, worked on recovery.”

Because it’s an Olympic year, athletes had to meet certain time standards, which makes this event different from others the team has participated in. Haynes said she didn’t know what the standards would be until recently, but, all of the athletes she had hoped would attend made the cut.

Both Pianin and Haynes said although San Francisco wasn’t the team’s best showing — even with two runners setting personal records — this weekend should yield better results.

“The weather is supposed to be beautiful,” Haynes said. “We’ll have ideal conditions to hopefully show where our training is at. (Personal records) don’t come all the time in track and field even though you go out every day and wish for one.”

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