Women’s Cross Country sprints into the new season with new head coach, David Lawrence Jr. taking over. The women of the Cross Country and Track and Field team have always been talented and with Coach Lawrence’s track record, they will be something to pay attention to during all major events this year.
David Lawrence Jr. is no stranger to Cross Country and Track and Field coming off a six year reign as head coach of men and women’s track and field along with cross country team’s at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. His resume only strengthens as he worked for the United States Track and Field as Region 14’s Coordinator for an outstanding 14 years and managed the Junior Olympics Track and Field and Cross Country. He received a masters in sports management from the University of California in Pennsylvania.
Gina Rowley, a junior coming into her second season of Track and Field, ran a solid 4:57.59 at Humboldt Invitational 2019. She also runs Cross Country but was unfortunately injured during the season. Rowley has nothing but high praise for her new coach and she said, “Coach Lawrence seems amazing! It is rare to find a coach as knowledgeable, caring and selfless as he is.” she continued by saying, “It’s clean he puts a huge amount of thought and effort into what he does.”
The team made a statement last year in the NCAA Division II Cross Country West Regional Championship in the 6k event with the likes of junior Alyssa Rentaria who ran an incredible 23:13.94 right behind her was junior Jasmine Casillas who finished with a 23:19.02. Every woman on the Cross Country team has remarkable personal records and thrive to beat them every event.
Sophomore Rachel Spektor, has been running competitively for six years and ran the 6k event at a respectable 25:12.4. Spektor is very excited for the upcoming season with a new coach and she said, “I’m looking forward to trying out new training and different running techniques, as well as being able to see my teammates growth as runners and people.”
Coach Lawrence has already made himself known increasing the teams practice, boosting team morale along with their confidence. Giving the women more time to practice and push themselves through extensive conditioning before their first meet.
Cross Country is not only about strength, it relies on endurance and an intense mentality respected across the athletic community. The women’s team pushes themselves year in and year out to be better and with Coach Lawrence’s knowledge, they will be a force to be reckoned with coming into the season.
Coach Lawrence pays tribute to the welcoming experience he has received since arriving saying “It’s always exciting to be apart of something new. The positive energy that I have received here at Sonoma State has been amazing. Our athletic administration and coaching peers has made my transition easy. The energy, excitement, and anticipation of this upcoming cross country season has been like no other place I’ve coached.” He continues by applauding his new team, “When I look at our current team I see a group of young student athletes ready for success and that’s what excites me the most. These young ladies come to practice everyday with their hard hat and lunch pail ready to go and as a coach you can appreciate that.”
Lastly, Coach Lawrence gave a little insight of his strategy coming into the Cross Country season saying, “Success can be measured in many ways and for me the focus will not only be to place higher than last year at our conference championship, but the student athlete experience.”
The Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field Team consists not only some of the strongest women on campus and a veteran coach, but a drive, an energy that can be felt through the entire campus. Coach Lawrence could be the final piece this incredible team needs to make an inspiring impact on upcoming events and 2020’s CCAA Championship in both Cross Country and Track and Field.
The women of the Cross Country along with Track and Field encourage anyone thinking about joining the team to come out and give it a try. They are an incredible group of women who strive to not only make themselves better, but make their teammates better. The Humboldt Invitational will be the first event for the team September 6, at Humboldt University at 5:30 p.m. and everyone is encouraged to go and support your student athletes.