Bobcat girls look forward to strong cross-country season

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Fri., Aug. 31, 2012
The top two Bobcat cross-country runners, juniors Alicia Szostak (left) and Katie Stevens.
The top two Bobcat cross-country runners, juniors Alicia Szostak (left) and Katie Stevens.

Last year was a learning experience, according to Bacon Academy girls’ cross-country coach Jen Karcich.  The first for the Bacon girls in the ECC large, they went up against some very strong teams.  And while that might have been intimidating to some of the runners, it’s a different story this year. 

“It’s very motivating for them.  It’s nice to run against teams like NFA, who have a solid top seven. They [Bacon runners] can see what they have to do to be that state-quality runner,” said Karcich.  Now in her 14th season as head coach, Karcich said that her team will be very competitive in the ECC, with a goal of claiming a spot in the top three.

Although the team lost two of their top seven runners from last year, the top five are all returning, and they are even stronger than last year, said Karcich.  “They put on some miles this summer, which is good to see.  They’re not starting at zero,” she said.  And her top two runners, Katie Stevens and Alicia Szostak are looking very strong, she said.  “They’re runners and they enjoy it,” she said. 

“I definitely want to improve my times from last year,” said Stevens, while also improving her pacing and how she runs a race, hoping that Bacon can beat some of the teams that beat them last year.

Szostak too wants to improve her times, and has worked very hard to do so.  “She’s done a really nice job of cross-training.  She’s stronger physically.  She’s definitely built-up a little bit.  She took the time to life weights, to cross-train, to bike, to swim,” said Karcich.

Things are looking up for the longer distance future as well, as several freshmen who ran cross-country as middle-schoolers have joined the team.  “I’m excited to see how they’re going to do, because they actually have that running base.  They’re not crossovers from another sport, they like to run,” said Karcich, who hopes that the freshman can give a little bit of a push to the upperclassmen.

Admitting that coaches can sometimes take for granted that the kids know why they are doing certain drills or exercises, Karcich said that a major focus this year will be “to really educate the kids on why they’re doing something.”

Saying that she is excited to see how this season pans out, Karcich has high hopes for her team.  “I don’t think they yet realize how good they can be,” she said.

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