Cross country is not only one of the most physically demanding fall sports, but it’s also one of the most mentally challenging ones.
With a little over a week until their first meet, the Sonoma State University women’s cross ountry team is ready to begin the long but rewarding journey that is a cross country season.
On September 1, our Women’s team will head down to Belmont, CA and race on the infamous Crystal Springs Cross Country Course at the Notre Dame de Namur Invitational.
They have high hopes for this fall as they ended the year strong last season at the 2017 NCAA Division II Cross Country West Regional Championships in Monmouth, Oregon with a total team score of 803 points.
Their big race before that was at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships (CCAA) where they finished in 12th place as a team.
Aside from their outstanding team efforts, there were also some individual recognitions that only further propelled the teams spirits.
The then sophomore, now junior, Jasmine Casillas finished in 61st place out of 112 runners and also was the top finisher on the Seawolves for the sixth straight race.
Just to top off an amazing sophomore year, she also received the prestigious CCAA Championship Scholar Athlete Award, which distinguished her as the athlete with the highest grade point average out of all the 112 runners on the course that day.
While reflecting upon last season she stated that, “It was lots of fun leading the team last year, I was able to test my limits and we all made significant improvements by the end of the year. The team also bonded a lot as the weeks went by which was one of my favorite parts, the fires especially made us brought us closer together.”
Casillas expressed her excitement about this upcoming season.
Training began over the summer with workouts that their head coach, Sean Fitzpatrick, provided for each runner.
They arrived on campus a week before the other students and this week is called “hell week.” It’s seven days packed with running workouts, speed work, long runs, hills, etc.
“You just have to keep running no matter what, but it really jumpstarts the season,” said Casillas.
Casillas is entering her junior year at Sonoma State University this fall as Pre-Med Major and is positioned to have an incredible season this year, so keep an eye out for her to continue to push her limits.
She was also delighted to share the fact that this year’s team is significantly larger than that of last seasons.
It has basically doubled from the 10 to 12 runners they had in 2017 to about 20 in the upcoming 2018 season.
“Our bigger team is filled with experienced veterans, excited transfers, and hopeful freshman,” said Casillas.
Their head coach, Sean Fitzpatrick, has been with the team since 2013 and is beloved by his team for various reason.
“Coach Sean is awesome, he often runs with us which most coaches don’t do. He sets the example with his constant leadership and expectations, pushing us to not slack off and always be striving for progress. He devotes a lot of time and energy to the team and makes running for the team a lot more enjoyable,” said Casillas.
The cross country team also received an assistant head coach, Aly Coughlin, in 2017.
She’s a very decorated and knowledgeable athlete and coach who has been running competitively for years and has excelled in the 3000, 5000, and 1000 meter races along with the Steeplechase.
The runners are “very excited to be working with such a talented and amazing person.”