In the short term, Schwinn is not looking past the next meet
for her national championship contenders. “We’re not thinking
of nationals; we can’t go to nationals if we don’t do well at
the regionals,” she said. “One race at a time.” Regionals are
on Nov. 9.
Schwinn is paying particular attention to the short term because
many of her runners are being struck with illnesses common to
cross country. “We’re just worried about sicknesses right now,
because everybody’s immune system is quite low,” the coach said.
“They’ve been training hard.”
Partly because the Sea Warriors are on an intense workout regime,
including running almost every day, lifting weights, and racing
almost every Saturday, viruses and injuries have been a problem
this season. “Running takes a lot out of the body. So, we’ll
see who is going to survive.”
Some of the injuries and illnesses faced by the women this
season include sophomore Sayuri Kusutani’s hip problems, junior
Amanda Crowe’s hamstring, and junior Nina Christensen’s pneumonia.
Christensen ran sick and still had two overall first-place finishes
and two seconds to Kusutani in the six events. For the men,
in early October junior Samual Macharia came down with influenza
and freshman Herald Buerkle developed an ankle problem “but
he’s not letting that bother him,” said Schwinn.
“I think all of them, whether they are sick or injured, they’re
not going to show it. I mean, these are die-hard runners. They
hide it very well,” the coach added, laughing, “until it’s over.”
Schwinn cut intensity and mileage for those who needed it,
and, she now says, injuries and illnesses are, for the most
part, in the past.
Senior Christian Madsen and Christensen have a chance to win
individual titles for men and women at nationals. Abdeslam Naji
and Kusutani have outside shots as well. But that is not the
coach’s main concern. “We are not looking at individuals, we
are looking at the team itself,” said Schwinn. “I think this
year is one of the best for both teams.”
To do well at the big meets, five solid runners are needed
and Schwinn thinks she has that. “I think we have a solid five
for men,” said Schwinn. “For the ladies, we have the top three,
and the fourth person is peaking at the right time.” She added
that any of four runners can be the fifth person.