Ocelots face minor setback at OCC Invitational
BY JAMES PAXSON
On Oct. 16, the Schoolcraft Women’s Cross Country team went head strong heading into the Oakland Community College (OCC) Invitational, but temporarily got off track.
Sophomore captain Audrey Baetz, freshman Caitlin Goyer and freshman Chelsea Kovacs have all bettered their times from earlier in the season. The cooler weather has seemed to help the runners pick up the pace and continue to progress with each race. The OCC Invitational course has become more challenging over the past few years, making it difficult for the runners to become familiar with the course each season. In past seasons, this race was held at the end of September at the Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills. Instead, this race was scheduled about three weeks after the usual date at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills.
At the start of the race, Baetz and Kovacs stayed close to the lead, passing through their first mile with a time of six minutes and 40 seconds. A setback occurred at the second mile of the race, making many racers unhappy.
“Somewhere in the second mile, they [Baetz and Kovacs] and some other runners lost sight of the leaders, and with no course markings, lost between 30 to 40 seconds before finding the correct route. They were still able to maintain their positions in the race,” said head coach Ed Kozloff.
Baetz ran through the finish at 22:25 minutes (7:14 per mile) coming in fifth overall at the invitational. Kovacs came in ninth place overall with a final time of 22:46 minutes (7:21 per mile). Facing similar obstacles, Goyer finished in at 25:29 minutes (8:13 per mile) with Grace Doolittle right behind her in 25:34 minutes (8:15 per mile).
“There were so many girls who got 30 to 40 seconds slower than usual because of this course,” said Baetz.
This was definitely not the way the girls wanted this race to go, but unfortunately was the last race for most girls. Regardless, the ladies remain strong and focused as potential qualifiers look forward to racing in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Women’s Cross Country Championship on Nov. 7 at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA.
According to coach Kozloff, Baetz and Kovacs look like the two strongest candidates that have the best shot to qualify for the NJCAA Championship. These two girls have worked extremely hard this year, improving course times and being great leaders for the younger girls. They hope to be the great runners they are next year at different colleges, but nothing is set in stone yet
Audrey Baetz said, “No matter what happenes next year, I will still continue running because it has always been a great hobby of mine.”
In a sport that is all that matters, is the athlete having fun and continuing the activity they have worked so hard at. For upcoming invitationals and scores, go to the National Junior College Athletic Association website.