The Mississippi College women’s cross country team is looking to represent the institution well this season. Cross country, along with golf, are the only two fall sports that will occur in the fall semester in the GSC due to COVID-19. With challenges from the virus in place, the team is looking to the 2020 season with one goal: to adapt and overcome.
“Despite the fact the season is presenting itself differently, I think we are going to handle it better than most. We pride ourselves on being able to adapt and overcome the worst of scenarios,” said head coach Matthew Reneker. In terms of how the virus has affected the season and the team itself, he said that high levels of stress are evident, but team members are taking precautions and handling the changes well. He believes this has a lot to do with the student leadership from the upperclassmen.
After finishing third in the conference last season and qualifying for regionals, the Lady Choctaws had looked to this season as an opportunity to go even further. Due to the virus, though, postseason NCAA championships have been canceled. Senior captain Madeline Campbell does not see this unfortunate change as a bad thing, but instead an opportunity to grow as a team. “We are no longer having our postseason championships. While that was hard to hear at first, I think our team has still risen above that in a lot of ways. It has given us even more motivation to train harder, be better, and succeed in the small things,” Campbell stated. According to Coach Reneker, the team is ahead of all their benchmarks and better in every spot possible this season.
Those are not the only numbers growing. This season marks the largest women’s cross country team Mississippi College has ever seen with 16 members. Six freshmen help make up this record-holding team. Freshman Leslie Baxter is one of the newcomers on the team. She says, “It is a huge family. I am looking forward to getting to know the girls more and to strive for better as a team. I want us to look past all the negatives and see all the positives.”
The Lady Choctaws are facing uncharted waters but are looking to overcome the hardships and adapt to the changes. With the upperclassmen’s leadership and the determination of the freshmen, the team hopes to represent Mississippi College well at its first meet on Sept. 19.