It was a day of personal records for the Life U Cross Country team at the Queens College Royal XC Challenge last Friday, as seven of the nine ladies ran season or career bests on the picturesque course in Charlotte, NC. They are trending in the right direction with the Mid-South Conference Championship on the horizon in early November.
Freshman Elizabeth Skipper led the way with a career PR in a Running Eagles bib, crossing the line in 20:21 for 78th place overall (out of 206 runners). Cora Atkinson was next for Life U with a 20:31 and 88th place. Next was Victoria Favela-Parra, who also ran a career best as a Running Eagle, coming in 99th place with a 20:48. Jaichelle Thomas continued her fine season with a 21:14 and a 109th place finish. Annie Diaz capped the scoring for Life U with a season best 21:55 and 127th place. The grouping of runners in cross country is so important for scoring, and with only 1 minute; 34 seconds between first and fifth place as a team, the Life U grouping was fantastic on the day.
Stephanie Estrada ran a career best 22:08 for 129th place and helped the team by displacing the runners from other teams who finished behind her. Mariana Sanchez ran a season best 22:57 to displace another 67 runners. Rachel Taylor set a career best with her time of 23:14, as did newcomer Abbi Elbaum, who also set a new career best mark of 24:07.
"Elizabeth and Tori really stepped up on Friday and both ran PR's," said Life U Head Coach Cathy Faust. "Cora and Elizabeth are coming off of injuries and last week was the first full week of training so much progress has been made. The key moving forward is to have runners 1-5 run as a pack and our veterans to fill in the gaps. Our younger runners are making great progress – Stephanie had a personal best, Mariana and Rachel also improved from last year's performance."
Next up for the Running Eagles is the Sand Shark Invitational next weekend in Charleston, SC.