By Brodee Gillam
Historically throughout sports, it is hard to find motivation and the resolve to continue pushing for more after back-to-back championship.
This is not the case for the LCC women's cross country squad, which finished second in the Lansing Invitational 5K on Oct. 6 and third in the Jayhawk Invitational 5K in Muskegon on Oct. 13.
This team continues to find new goals to strive for and is looking primed for another postseason run.
LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson said he continues to credit the team's success to its pack-running mentality.
"It helps you in several ways," Robinson said. "It helps you in relationship to your own race. … The big key in distance running is the mental battle, so if you're running with your teammates it's a lot easier to be positive about how you're doing. You're saying, 'Oh, this is the same person I run with every day. This is where I belong.'
"So you're more relaxed, you're more confident, so it can help you run faster."
But the key cog in the machine is the consistency behind the pair. Sophomores Alyssa Mankey and Emily Wohlfert have fulfilled their potential, along with other teammates, in nearly every race this season.
Mankey, who's improved her time every race this season, finished the Lansing Invitational in 18th place with another personal record of 19:55. Mankey said a part of the consistency of the women's team is running in pack, which elevates all of runners to another level.
"It's like a chain," Mankey said. "If you run fast, it's going to bring your teammates to run faster, because it's that group mentality. You want to be with your teammates. So I would think that would be something that would make you want to go faster."
Wohlfert finished at 20:42 in the Lansing Invitational. Robinson said Wohlfert has been "really, really consistent" and said she is "ready for a big day."
Wohlfert said the training the team does beforehand raises the runners' confidence level during the race.
"After all the miles in the summer and after all the workouts, you're like 'I can handle a 3.1 (mile) race,'" Wohlfert said. "The workouts kind of simulate a race …"
The Stars' next meet is the NJCAA Region XII Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 1 p.m.