Nov. 22, 2009
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The NCAA Cross Country Championships are less than 24 hours away now, and the top-ranked Husky women and 15th-ranked UW men are going about their pre-race routines, trying to keep things as normal and automatic as possible.
Sunday afternoon, the Huskies headed out to the race course for a shake-out and basked in the surprisingly sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 50s. After an hour spent getting reacquainted with the LaVern Gibson layout and testing out the footing, the team headed back to their hotel, where head coach Greg Metcalf and senior Katie Follett were part of the official press conference.
Metcalf joined the head coaches from No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Princeton, and No. 4 Florida, then Follett took the stage along with Colorado's Jenny Barringer, Florida State's Susan Kuijken, Illinois' Angela Bizzarri, and Villanova's Sheila Reid.
"Our sport is all about timing and momentum," said Metcalf to the assembled media. "We're healthy, fit, and excited to go run Monday."
Metcalf was asked what was different about this year's trip compared to last season when UW was looking for its first title. He thought the team would be better prepared to handle the pressures.
"The goal is just to get to that date with a shot. We can control nothing of what anyone does except what we do. We're taking it one meet at a time, one week at a time, and continue to build as the season progresses," Metcalf said. "The expectations and pressures our women put on themselves haven't changed whatsoever. I think our group is a little more calm, cool, and collected than a year ago; a little more battle-tested and ready."
Follett was also asked to discuss the changes from one year to the next.
"That we bring back so much of the same team I think does help us carry over the momentum from last year, but it is a different year, it's going to be a different race," she said. "Obviously we have some very talented teams that we're going to be racing against tomorrow, so I think all of us are just focusing on going out there, racing as hard as we can, and not getting caught up in expectations or pressures."
Follett said the Huskies will continue to draw strength from each other before and during the race, as they have the past two years.
"Having your teammates around you and knowing that when you stand on the line, they're going to be giving 100-percent and you're going to be giving 100-percent, just really helps to manage the nerves. Knowing that makes it a little bit more like practice, having those girls that you've trained with all year next to you."
The Husky men will be up first Monday morning, running at 12:08 p.m. local time and 9:08 a.m. back in Seattle. The women then go off at 12:58 p.m. Eastern time. Watch the race live on Versus.