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Cross Country team sets high goals

ORU Cross Country will run the 2013 season with six men and three women from 2012.

Throughout the summer, Coach Evan Blackburn emailed the runners weekly workout plans.

The plans began with half of competition mileage, and then progressed to three-quarters of competition mileage.

By June, the runners put down competition mileage for weekly training.

Aside from summer training, the team boasts an additional four men and four women this year.

One of the freshmen women, Abby Hoover, of Sapulpa, Okla., sported an Oklahoma State Championship in the mile event last year.

Blackburn said he is eager to see what Hoover will add to the team.

Leif Peterson, a junior from Owatonna, Minn., said he desires to “improve on [his] time and do even better at conference this year.”

Blackburn said he expects improvement from the men’s team as a whole.

Last season, Blackburn set the bar high for five men, challenging them to get under 27 minutes, and four made it.

This year, Blackburn set the bar at 26 minutes for the men, which he said is “one of the better [teams] that I have had in five years.”

Coach Blackburn is now in his fifth year as cross country head coach and said he is enthusiastic about the upcoming season.

Blackburn said that Samantha Watson, a junior from Schuylerville, N.Y., returned this year “in better shape than she’s ever been.”

Watson finished 9th at conference last year, and Blackburn is ready to see a top-five performance at this year’s conference meet.

So with much preparation, the ORU Cross Country team plans to lace-up tight and pursue improvements from last year’s goal accomplishments.

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