Josh Falcone – General Assignments Reporter –
The Southern Connecticut State University women’s cross country team is looking to continue to run on all cylinders.
Coach Melissa Stoll and the team have only had a little over a month of physical training time together, but the first year coach likes what she has seen.
“It has been going very well,” Stoll said. “We’ve had PR’s (Personal Records) from a few of the gals.”
Emily Taylor, a freshman from Guilford, has had a PR in each of her races according to Stoll.
Taylor dropped 21 seconds from her time in the first 5k of the season at the Riverhawk Invitational in Nashua, N.H. and then another two seconds from her time at the CCSU Ted Owen Invitational a week later.
Graduate student Courtney Dinnan from Hamden, who was part of the UCONN cross country team before attending the graduate program here at Southern, took first overall at the Riverhawk Invitational. The Owls team finished third.
Dinnan agreed with Coach Stoll about the Owls season so far.
“The team has been very productive,” she said.
Dinnan said she is looking forward to competing in the New England Championship this weekend and is striving to make nationals.
Coach Stoll said, “Courtney’s been a great help, sharing her experiences with the rest of the team.”
Senior Kiara Bonilla from Bristol said the team is a strong group.
“I think we’re growing as a team,” she said.
Coach Stoll agreed with this sentiment.
“The mental approach to racing is getting better as each week comes along,” Stoll said.
According to Coach Stoll the team as a group is looking to get their times down to a minute between runners one through five.
Coach Stoll also said the team is practicing to group up when running. These tactics can only help junior Shelton native Nicole Strauss’s goal for the team.
“I want finish in the top three at the conference championships,” she said. “And a top three finish at regional.”
Coach Stoll is looking forward to see how much more the team can initiate the grouping up in future races and work together like they have been at every practice since the season has begun.
Stoll said that she believes the team will be successful in their race plan.
“They’re hard working,” Coach Stoll said. “And they’re really excited.”
Dinnan summed up the cross country team’s objective with two words.
“Aim high,” she said.