The Cleveland State Cross Country team has returned from their trip to the NJCAA National meet in Fort Dodge, IA. Out of over 300 runners, Madison Guider placed 122nd place in the 5K race with a time of 20:27.6 while Luis Perez of the men's team placed 210th in the 8K race with a time of 28:39.8. This was Cleveland State's first ever appearance at the national meet, setting the foundation for future Cougar runners. Head Coach David Kyle, Madison Guider and Luis Perez each reflected on the trip:
Head Coach David Kyle said, "As I look back on the first cross country season at Cleveland State, I feel it was a great learning experience. It was a good first year winning our first men's team title at Central Georgia Tech, and our women had good showings in all the races as well. This first season was capped off by attending Nationals. We only took our #1 male and female this year, but our goal for next year is to take both teams. It was a great experience racing, and coaching with the best in JUCO Nation. It was really awesome that our AD, Coach Policastro went with us. It definitely made the trip more relaxing just knowing he was there. It has been a great first year with much appreciated support from administration and upper management. I am very proud of the way Luis, and Madison ran at Nationals. The conditions were not pleasant. It was cold and windy, but they gave it their all. Madison ran her best 5k time of her career at nationals with a time of 20:27.6. Luis just missed his best 8k time by a few seconds with a 28:39.8. It was a great experience at Nationals, and I plan to take the teams back. We have a lot of work to do still, but with hard work and dedication we can do it. My final words to all athletes and my future runners is, "If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done." -Thomas Jefferson"
Madison Guider of the women's team added, "Nationals was an incredible experience. We got to compete against some really good schools and see how we rank compared to others. It was an honor to get to be the first girl from Cleveland state to go. I loved getting to represent the Lady Cougars and my team. I set a personal record at nationals, and that was the best race I've ever had. I think nationals was a stepping stone for next year's season. We're going to continue training and improving in the offseason. I hope to get to compete again next year at nationals and have all the other girls with me!"
Luis Perez of the men's team finished the reflection commenting, "Overall nationals was an awesome experience. I expected it to be cold but I didn't expect the wind to be so harsh, that took some getting used to. The athletes were very competitive and you had someone at every level. It was nice to meet some around the hotel. The banquet was awesome with great food and being able to see pro athletes speak at the banquet was very movitating. It was nice to be able to hang out with Coach Policastro and it was nice to spend a weekend with him and having him there to support was motivating as well."
Its now the offseason for the cross country team and with some upcoming new additions and persistent training, the Cougars will look to run even faster in 2018.