Bacon Academy runners look forward to great season

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Sep. 26, 2011
The Bacon Academy girls' cross-country team working out on the school track. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
The Bacon Academy girls' cross-country team working out on the school track. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

According to Bacon Academy girls’ cross-country coach Jen Karcich, the start of the season is going to be “a little bit of a mystery,” after losing three of her top six runners to graduation. Fortunately for Karcich and the Bobcats, a number of talented runners have returned. In addition, a few juniors who had never before run cross-country joined the team, “and they’re doing quite well,” said Karcich. “I think they actually surprised themselves.”

In her 13th year as head coach, Karcich said that while this year’s team is green in terms of knowledge and how to run a race, “they are athletic people in general.” Many runners worked out on their own over the summer, so they came into the season very fit. And perhaps more importantly, “They are quick learners,” said Karcich.

“They have a lot of good questions. This particular group of runners seems to understand what we’re asking of them, and then they just do it,” she said. Knowing that her runners are in strong physical shape and have a good feel for the mental side of the sport has allowed Karcich to focus on some of the finer points of running a long-distance race.

“There’s a lot more to running than just going out and running,” said Karcich, who is working to increase the efficiency of her runners. “A lot of them have little quirks to their running form that we have to fix,” she said, adding that they are also working on the mental and strategic part of running a race, like drafting off of other runners and surging past them when the time is right. “Thinking about what you’re doing when you’re actually racing,” she summarized.

Two runners that Karcich will depend on this year are seniors Lydia Krause and Rachel DeLuca, both of whom have run cross-country all four of their high school years. “It’s great to be a part of this team,” said Krause, who is excited about this season, feeding off the excitement shown by the newcomers to the team. She said that she has seen her race times improve incredibly since her freshman year, a trend that she plans to continue into this season. “I’ll keep challenging myself. You can always keep improving,” she said.

DeLuca also likes the challenge of running cross-country. “I can push myself to the limit,” she said. Despite the fact that it is early in the season and there are many newcomers on the team, DeLuca said that they have all bonded really well. She said that everybody “likes the challenge to do as well as they can. We’re able to push past things and persevere,” she said.

This team togetherness is particularly important this year, as the Bobcats have moved to the ECC Large division, and are facing larger schools with a greater number of talented runners.  

“We [the team] were a little bit nervous because we moved up to the Large division,” said Karcich. But her team was able to overcome any nerves in its first meet, beating both Lyman Memorial and St. Bernard, while losing to Norwich Free Academy.
“We did great,” said Karcich.

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