Lady Bullets stride across the finish line
By Andy Milone, Web Content Manager
The Gettysburg College women’s cross-country team took to the hills on Saturday, when it competed in the Messiah College Invitational. The team placed fourth in a field of 13 division three teams.
Sophomore Sarah Rinehart was the first Bullet to cross the finish line, finishing 17th in a field of 163 competitors with a time of 25:09 respectively. Senior Gwen Porter was not far behind as she crossed the line with a time of 25:14, worthy of 19th place. Senior captain Amanda Asaro and junior Elizabeth Hilfrank did not compete as they look ahead towards other meets with top-level competition.
“For the rest of the season, we want to continue to work hard, train hard and race hard,” said Asaro. “Our per K times keep improving even as some courses are getting tougher, so I have high hopes for the rest of the season.”
11 women from the Orange and Blue improved their times from the previous 6K competition at Kutztown University.
Only a second behind Porter, sophomore Colleen Campbell finished third for the Bullets and 21st overall. Senior captain Eva Karkuff and sophomore Margot Hoagland rounded out the scoring for the Bullets.
Cross-country is a team sport which highlights “pack running” as a strong strategy for success. This plan involves runners from the same team running in groups in order to push each other into higher-level positions of scoring. While Asaro and Hilfrank have been the top runners for Gettysburg, the pack that follows up behind them is crucial to the team’s success. This pack includes Porter, Campbell, senior Amanda Wivell, Karkuff, Hoagland, sophomore Mary Casey, and first year Jaqueline Russell.
“We knew Saturday was going to be a good size meet with appropriate competition and a hilly course so to prepare for that we did some hill workouts and a lot of pack-running this week,” said Karkuff. “The goal was to work the hills and work together and I think we really did that. The team showed up ready to compete, and was very receptive when we previewed the course on our warm-up to prepare for the race.”
The women’s cross-country season begins with shorter 4K and 5K races before transitioning into the 6K races. The Messiah Invitational was only the second 6K race of the season.
The cross-country season is one of the shorter seasons for fall sports, and as October approaches, the lady Bullets begin to enter into some of their toughest races.
Asaro and Hilfrank will look to continue to lead the squad of 22 women and keep the women as close together as possible.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Lehigh University Saturday for the 47th Paul Short Run. Regular attenders, the women’s squad will be prepared to compete in the meet where they placed forth out of 43 teams last season.
The course will not come packaged with as many hills as the previous two meets, so the runners will be looking to improve their times again in anticipation of the Centennial Conference Championships meet October 29.
“Our team goal for the season is to place in the top 4 at Conferences,” said Karkuff. “We also have a team goal to be a supportive unit for each other throughout this long season. In cross country, every team member is crucial to the success of the team and everyone has ups and downs throughout the season.”
The lady Bullets placed sixth in last year’s Conference competition.
Gettysburg will have runners in both the open race and varsity race Saturday, beginning at 9:30a.m.