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WolfPack sending pair To USport cross country nationals

Conlan Sprickerhoff
Image Credit: Thompson Rivers University
November 08, 2016 - 2:21 PM

It will be a small contingent who will represent the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack at this week’s 2016 USport Cross Country Nationals.  The championships are being held this coming weekend (Feb 12)at the University of Laval in Quebec City, Quebec.

WolfPack head coach Carmin Mazzotta is taking only two runners—Conlan Sprickerhoff of Williams Lake, BC and Rachel Lobay of Kelowna, BC.

“With travel costs and time to get to Quebec City being what it is,” said Mazzotta, “We had to make the difficult decision not to bring some of our athletes. We have a very young squad and will have full teams next fall when the USport Nationals are in Victoria.”

Lobay is looking forward to racing against some of the top athletes in Canada. “Coming into this season I was recovering from a torn tendon so I knew I would have to see how my body would react to training (ie: how much mileage and training intensity I could handle). I didn’t race as much as I would have liked to, but that’s OK. Right now I feel healthy, fit and ready to go.”

Lobay felt she had a strong performance at last month’s BC Cross Country championships in Nanaimo. “In the last 150 meters, I had a strong sprint to the finish. From that race, I’ve got a couple of girls I want to beat at Nationals so it will be fun to have a rematch in Quebec.”

“Rachel was injured last year at Nationals and still finished 63rd,” stated Mazzotta. “She was seventh amongst rookies in the CIS. That was an exceptional race for her—she really ran out of her head to place that high. This year, we’ve managed to keep her healthy.  She is really fit and strong. I think top 50 is a solid goal but once again, anything in the top 75 would have to be considered a success. Rachel has a great racing psychology-she likes getting in there with the other top runners in the country and battling for every spot. It is a joy to watch her race.”

“It’s exciting to go to USport Nationals,” says Sprickherhoff. “With it being in Quebec, it gives us a great chance to run hard and represent TRU on the national stage. My season has gone well with some highsand lows to it, but in general, I feel it has been really strong from start to finish. Come nationals, I think I will be really well tapered and running faster than I have all season. I think I’ll be at my top peak come nationals.”

He adds, “This is a great opportunity to show all of the hard work and training we have put in and give it all we have in one last cross country race this year.”

“Conlan has been a real leader on our team for over a year now,” explains Mazzotta. “He just turned 21 but has the maturity of a much older athlete. Conlan works hard every season and we keep seeing incremental gains. He was a 35 minute 10 K runner last fall, he was a 34 minute 10 k runner this spring and now this fall we will see where he stacks up at nationals. He has the potential to run sub 34 minutes. He will need to be to get near the top 100. Last year’s nationals wasn’t the best race for Conlan - he was a bit over his head and lost focus. There is no room for that in a race of this calibre. You need to be focused on the next pack of runners ahead of you, forward momentum only, the whole way, while at the same time staying relaxed and confident in your abilities. If Conlan can stay focused only on what’s in front of him on November 12th, he will have a good day.”

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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