Cross Country: Eastern has youth movementThursday, October 30 2008 - OVC Championships
Five of eight spots on conference team will be freshmen
Brandy Provaznik/Staff Reporter
"They aren't new to racing and they aren't inexperienced," O'Grady said. "If they were they wouldn't be here. Everyone here on our collegiate Division I level team is obviously talented and has something to contribute."
O'Grady said it is great to have so many freshmen on the team that are doing well right away, and the Panthers just need to keep building on that and keep the nerves to a minimum.
"I don't know what it is really but a lot of the girls were so nervous, particularly at the beginning of the season," head coach Geoff Masanet said. "The anxiousness has started to calm down in the last few meets as the girls become more aware of their abilities and more confident in what they are capable of."
Masanet said after the alumni met early this season he had to sit the women down and tell them that being so nervous wasn't going to get them anywhere, and that they needed to focus on how prepared they were rather than all the uncertainties that give them that anxiety.
Masanet said it is human nature to be a little nervous and that it is just the runner's job to work through that nervousness.
"Nicole Flounders, one of our best runners on the women's side in the last few years, was almost always a wreck before meets, but she still got the job done and worked through it," Masanet said.
Many of the freshmen this season have become key contributors to the team right away, taking up five of the eight conference spots on the roster for this weekend.
O'Grady said she is especially proud of freshman Brittany Arthur, who did not run cross country in high school, and has consistently been the Panthers' No. 2 runner for the majority of the season.
Arthur said running at the college level has been a big adjustment for her and her teammates.
"A lot of us, myself included for sure, get really nervous, but we are doing a good job of running through that and just doing the best we can," Arthur said. "Erin tries to keep reminding us that it is just a race and all we can do is our best."
Masanet said while this weekend coming up is the Ohio Valley Conference Championships he does not want the women, or the men either for that matter, to put so much focus on the race. He said he doesn't want them to feel pressued and get and get all worked up about it.
"It is just another meet," Masanet said. "I know they are prepared, and they know, or at least should know, they are prepared. They just need to come out racing hard, controlled and confident just like any other meet, and the times should follow."
Brandy Provaznik can be reached at 581-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.