Cross country closes: Roberts says teams focus on ‘keeping positive’

Junior business major Alyssa Moore runs during the Stegemoller Classic at Angel Mounds in Evansville, Sept. 4. The team finished the NCAA Division II Championship in 10th place this season.

Alyssa Smith
Junior business major Alyssa Moore runs during the Stegemoller Classic at Angel Mounds in Evansville, Sept. 4. The team finished the NCAA Division II Championship in 10th place this season.

Johnnie Guy isn’t pleased with how the men’s cross country season ended.

“I think it went pretty awful for pretty much everyone,” the senior engineering major said. “Everything went wrong that could have.”

In the second to last race of the season Guy came down with flu-like symptoms. After completing that race he was not able to run for a few days. Several other players on the team also became sick leading up to the race.

Guy said it took him a long time to recover and he felt leftover exhaustion.

Two of the runners who usually run in the top five had disappointing days and another runner fell and was “trampled” by the rest of the pack, Guy said.

“Pretty much everyone had a bad day on the same day,” Guy said.  

Coach Hillyard said he thinks if everyone was 100 percent that day the race could have gone differently.

“It’s definitely good to be good, but you have to be lucky sometimes,” he said.

Women’s runner Emily Roberts said she thinks the men could have run better races on a different day, especially with the illnesses.

“You never know when you’re going to have a bad race,” the sophomore exercise science major said. “I think they just ran to the best of their ability.”

Despite a rough race day the men’s team managed to end the NCAA Division II Championship in 10th place.

Guy said the end of the season was a result of“a lot of bad luck” for the team because all throughout the season the team improved.

The women’s team also finished the championships in 10th place and Guy said the men’s team was thrilled for the women.

Roberts led the women’s team and finished 5th out of the 247 participants.

“Emily had the race of her life,” Guy said. “Coach (Hillyard) said she could be top five, but i’m not sure anyone believed it.”

Guy said the whole team was happy Robert’s hard work throughout the season paid off.

“We went crazy.” Guy said. “We did not expect (the finish) at all.”

Hillyard said the women’s season finished on a high note and he was pleased to see Roberts set a record time.

“She’s been progressing ever since she stepped on campus a year ago as a freshman,” he said. “I was really happy to see it come together, but it wasn’t a surprise.”

Roberts said the team tried to treat the championship like any other race and there wasn’t too much more pressure than normal in the season.

Hillyard had the team work out and run mileage leading up to the race so that the team would peak at the same time, Roberts said.

“I tried to change my racing to save a little bit more for the end,” Roberts said. “I think I was just able to hold on better (toward the end of) this race.”

Roberts finished the race in 20 minutes and 13.30 seconds.

With that success in mind she can now shift her focus to the track and field season and take some lessons with her.
“(I’ve learned) just to keep a more positive attitude toward racing,” Roberts said. “These past races I have been focused on keeping positive even if the conditions aren’t positive.”