Cross Country opens season in Huntsville

Members of the UNA Women’s Cross Country team do stretching exercises before practice Aug. 29. The team will open its season at the Earl Jacoby Fleet Feet Invitational this Sept. 8.

UNA’s cross country team starts its 2012 season at the Earl Jacoby Memorial Invitational in Huntsville Saturday.

The cross country team went 3-6 (men’s) and 6-5 (women’s) at last year’s Alabama-Huntsville Invitational and look forward to improve in this year’s conference.

The team has also picked up extra practices for the opening meet.

“We do speed work twice a week, usually Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings at 6:15, then we have afternoon practices,” said Assistant Coach Hannah Mook. “On speed days we just build on the miles.”

Returning sophomore letterman Erin Covington feels confident in the team’s ability.

“We have a very strong girl’s and guy’s team this year, and we have the new freshmen that will really make our team stronger than last year,” she said.

Mook also commented on the new freshmen joining the team.

“We have seven new (women) freshmen, and they are excellent freshmen,” Mook said.

UNA has also made sure that the new freshmen have fit right at home.

“I’m actually really surprised at how well we came together and how well we just instantly meshed and obviously how well we’ve been running,” said Olivia Brady., freshman on the women’s team.

With seven new freshmen on the women’s team and one on the men’s, the UNA cross country team is split between new and old runners, having lost five total members after last year.

Last year, the team averaged about middle of the field, coming in seventh and sixth for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, at the Earl Jacoby Memorial Invitational.

Going up against UAH is on the team’s minds as the Invitational comes up.

“(Our rival) has been UAH, but this year we’re just going towards them all because there’s two new teams in the conference,” Mook said. “We’re just gotta be number one.”