And they’re off! The Tennessee State University men and women’s cross country team will hit the ground running with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship just hours away. The 2014 OVC Cross Country Championship will return to Oxford, Alabama for the second time in three years, and will be held tomorrow, Saturday, November 1 at Oxford Lake Park. With a sweeping performance last year from the Eastern Kentucky men and women’s team, TSU will go into tomorrow’s meet, looking for a different outcome.
“My teammates and I have been working diligently to run our very best at the OVC championship. I also feel that we will give it our best and finish hard to carry that momentum into our indoor track season,” said first year junior runner, Kwame Robinson.
While staying optimistic going into Saturday’s events, the women have a good chance of placing in this year’s meet, while the men, who are faced with issues in depth, will mainly focus on beating personal records. Coach Chandra Cheeseborough too feels strong about her team entering the competition based off the work ethic and attitude of the runners.
“We just take it one day at a time, and one meet at a time, and on top of that, we’ve been getting some quality workouts in. We ran this past weekend in Chattanooga and we had some good performances, and we’re just doing what we need to do in order to better ourselves,” said Cheeseborough when asked about the work ethic and attitude of the team heading into Saturday.
With a team so small, does it put them out of contention? How about affect the mindset of the team or determine the outcome. All of which are questions Robinson would clarify.
“No, I feel as though my teammates and I continuously encourage one another. No matter the size, big or small, we are as strong as our weakest link. Coach Cheese has pushed us through many miles, and hills, to ensure that we can finish strong in the championship. We have faith that our hard work will pay off.”
Take a look around Gentry come practice time, and you’ll understand, size doesn’t matter nor determine the outcome going into big meets like this. Senior runner Oteia Prince, who holds high expectations from her teammates and coach, feels the same way.
“We go into OVC championship as a team, and coach said we can place 8th, which is something that TSU hasn’t done in a while. Coach Cheese always told us, “I can want it, but it’s up to you guys,” so going into Saturdays meet, we have to want it as a team,” said Prince.
“It is such a positive influence this year, I don’t know, sometimes you have some bad seeds and you know how the negativity can spill off, but this year has just been great going out there working with and coaching the group, and knowing that everyone out there is 100 percent in, which usually pays off in the competition,” said coach Cheese.
Hard work pays off, and only time will tell how much this group has progressed throughout the season, as Saturday’s runners are just a minor piece to the indoor outdoor track and field team, which carries high expectations coming into the season.