Women’s cross-country team reflects on season
It wasn’t the year for the women’s cross-country team to win a Mid-American Conference championship. Nor was it the year for any of its runners to compete in the Nationals this past weekend in Terra Haute, Ind.
The team finished the season No. 7 in the Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-country Coaches Association poll. The only MAC team that finished ahead of Central Michigan was Toledo, ranked No. 5.
CMU director of track and field and cross-country Willie Randolph said the women’s cross-country team was one of the best cross-country teams CMU has ever had. The Chippewas placed second at the MAC championships for the second-straight year, something that no other CMU cross-country team, men’s or women’s, has ever achieved.
The team finished eighth out of 33 teams in the regional race on Nov. 12. None of the runners qualified to run in Nationals.
Randolph thinks its MAC championship team is closer than ever since the Chippewas return all but a handful of their roster next season.
“Even though we fell short of a MAC championship, we did a lot of things that we’ll bring back next year,” Randolph said.
Junior runner Charnele Lyons said it’s weird to think about the complexion of the team changing with the leaders, Raeanne Lohner and Holley Anderson leaving the program.
“It’s going to be hard to lose Raeanne and Holly,” Lyons said. “I definitely counted on Raeanne and Holly a lot to help me.”
Randolph said he feels confident that those returning next year can take over as leaders.
“We have some runners who can step up and fill those roles,” he said.
With the season over, the team was given last week off to rest before training for long-distance in track and field this spring.
Randolph plans a get-together for the team Dec. 8 after the runners’ final exams are finished.
“The biggest thing is to get them rested,” he said. “There’s no real time to celebrate, yet.”
Lyons said the week off was her first time off from cross-country workouts since May.
“I texted (assistant cross-country coach Matt) Kaczor and said it was the first time I said I want to work out.”
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