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Pace’s Cross-Country Team’s Run Towards Success

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Photo Courtesy of Pace Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Pace Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Pace Athletics

Kwadar Ray, Sports Editor

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2017 has been quite the year for Pace athletics: The Field Hockey team is breaking records seemingly every time they step onto the field, Women’s soccer has been successful and the football team is finally winning games.

However, one cannot look past Pace Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country teams, which has taken on a new look under first-year head coach David Robinson.

Coach Robinson has come to Pace after coaching for four years in Jacksonville and he says the transition has gone nicely.

“Things are going quite well, of course there is a transition getting accustomed to the university, but the kids are great,” Robinson said. “I’ve definitely been welcomed with open arms. I feel like a Pace Setter at this point walking around campus.”

Mariah Jno-Charles, who was earned All-NE-10 honors in 2016, says Robinson has been a great help to her and the entire team.

“Training is different, but it’s a good thing and we needed a change on our team,” Jno-Charles said. “I think everybody’s been benefiting from the new training, so I think that’s been helpful a lot.”

Sophomore Ricky Harris of the men’s team shared a similar sentiment.

“I’ve had a big increase in mileage over the summer so that’s helped a lot and coach’s workout has helped and its beneficial and I’m starting to see the results in our time,” Harris said.

Robinson has been impressed with not just Jno-Charles and Harris, but the entire team for their performance and adjusting to the different challenges this season.

“The biggest shift for our team really was getting into some competitive fields,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of runners who have put down personal records, which is a great thing to see certainly this point in the season, but on top of that we’re also stringing together a lot of quality races. So, there’s been a lot of kinetic energy on the team that’s finally coming forth.”

The new mentality of the entire team is what has led to an impressive season where the Setters are competitive and not finishing last in nearly every meet, which was a common theme in previous seasons.

“For the women’s team, we see that coach is dedicated and invested, and instead of joining cross country to lose weight or to have fun, people are wanting to compete heavily,” Jno-Charles said.

For the men’s side, Harris sees the dedication of veterans on the team as a key to their success.

“We have mostly seniors on the team, so they have great experience,” he said. “They’re giving it all for their last season, and we’re working hard to make it their best season ever also.”

The veteran presence on both teams in 2017 has been significant, according to Robinson.

“It’s been incredibly helpful, dear I say necessary, for them to be around just to allow the transition to go smoothly,” he said.

On October 21, the Setters will be competing in the NE-10 Conference Championship and Robinson believes the team will have an impressive outing, which has been lacking during past seasons.

“We have athletes who are not just giving it all, but stringing races together and that says we’re a better team than last year’s and we have results to prove it,” he said. “We’re excited to finally put it all together for that [Conference Championship] race and have the Pace community see the results of all the hard work they’ve put in.”

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