The SF State women’s cross country team hit the ground running with their new team of runners at their first meet of the 2016 season on Thursday at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park. The team finished fourth out of five teams overall and second to division rivals Academy of Art University.
Head coach Kendra Reimer said she was happily surprised by her team, especially coming into the season with 11 new runners.
“It was a really pleasant surprise to have such a young new group but to go out with Division I teams and race at the front of the pack,” Reimer said. “The main thing we wanted to see today was race composure and a competitive finish and that’s what we did.”
Reimer said she felt a strong new team spirit that would lead the team into a successful season.
Junior Mayha Castro said she was happy to lead many of the new runners in their first meet as a team.
“We have a couple of girls who have never run cross country before, so it was good for us returners to really lead the girls through their first race,” Castro said.
At the front of the pack of new runners was freshman Pearl Shoemaker, who finished 13th overall but placed first for SF State.
“Pearl won it for us today and that was sort of unexpected,” Reimer said. “We thought she’d be in our top five, but we didn’t expect her to win for us so that was really exciting.”
Noticeably absent from the pack was the team’s top runner, Adriana Calva. Calva sustained a minor hamstring strain during practice on Tuesday and decided not to run in the first meet.
“I thought I would be able to run through it, but my coaches just said to play it safe,” Calva said. “It’s only the beginning of the season.”
With the first race of the season now behind them, Castro said the team will focus on continuing the momentum of Thursday’s race and working cohesively as a team.
“Right now we are really working together as a team,” Castro said. “We’re on the line together and we win together, so today was important for us to learn how to work together.”
The next run for the Gators will be next weekend at the Yellowjackets Invitational, hosted by Montana State-Billings, the same course that the NCAA Division II Regionals will be held on in November.