Sweat, Tears and Payoff: A Step Into Cross Country Preseason Life


Bam! Shoes hit the ground as Clark University started its 2019 Men and Women’s Cross Country season with a roar. Members of Cross Country team started their first official workout of the season on August 23rd. Luckily, for these runners it was a fairly brisk day. Running in the heat can be a grueling task. The first hour-long run through the city of Worcester, Massachusetts proved to be a good platform to build off of, as summer training ended, and in-season training had begun. Of pre-season, junior captain Bobby Sharma had the following to say.

“We had a couple of things we wanted to accomplish as captains. We wanted to ensure that there was a brief time to adjust to practices and being on the team before classes started off again. This would allow the team to get back into the routine and help run practices smoother along with not having to worry about other things. Ideally if the pre-season were longer it definitely would have been beneficial in terms of endurance, but the short pre-season did help us get back into the racing mindset. We also wanted everyone to think of goals they wanted to achieve over the course of the season, both team and individual. Goal setting is definitely important, as cross country is also a mental sport so having these goals to chase definitely would help motivate us and help us improve throughout the season.”

Along with holding its first practice, the team also continued its tradition of holding team meals for the first weekend of pre-season. Unity has been one of Clark University’s Cross Country Team’s greatest assets, and every year the team makes sure to continue harnessing this strength by inviting newcomers onto the team with open arms.

With plenty of summer training already in the books, Clark University’s Cross Country team started the season off right with several successful times on one of the hardest cross country courses of the season. Sophomore runner Cameron Keenan hit a time 31:33 in the first 8k of the season. A very accomplished time for one of the younger runners on Clark’s team. Keenan wasn’t the only runner to kick the season off with power though, sophomore Liam Stewart also proved his talent on the first race of the season placing within the top 25 runners in the meet alongside one of the team’s accomplished Captains, Bobby Sharma. The Worcester City Meet has been universally referred to by members of the team as one of the hardest courses of the season. First-year Alec Hoffman voiced a very similar experience following last Saturday’s event, “The first race was tough, especially for my first 8k. The second and third hills blew hard and took it out of me. It didn’t help that my ankle was nagging the whole way.” Known for its long and endless hills, Moore State Park located in Worcester, Massachusetts has been one of the more dreaded cross country courses in the state of Massachusetts. “I felt alright about my first race, but I would’ve liked to run a better time. I definitely could have pushed harder, but for the first race of the season it was a good place to start (Adam Liebell-McClean, ‘22) ”.

The team made sure to prepare for the excruciating course ahead of time by using practice time to complete 350-meter sprints on hills of their own. Completing eight 350-meter sprints on winding hills showcased the commitment and grit that each of Clark’s runners possessed within themselves. By working hard over the summer and starting the season off with grilling workouts, Clark’s Cross Country Teams opened their first meet of the season off strong, proving to themselves and others that Clark is in a very good position to have a strong season this year. Check back in with the Scarlet from week to week to see the schedule for coming athletic events and updates from your Cougars.