The Amherst Student sat down with Olivia Polischeck ’21, one of the captains of the women’s cross country team, to talk about her role as leader of the squad.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
A: Over the last two weeks, our team dynamic has changed a lot. We have five new incoming first years [who] are really committed and dedicated, and I think because of it, the upperclassmen feel much more competitive.
We’re all also more united over our goal to make it to Nationals this season. I’m really excited to see how our team comes together in the next couple months, because I think we have so much potential … We all have to step it up to match the freshmen’s level of excitement and energy.
Q: What has been your experience as a captain, especially as a junior?
A: I was really excited and really nervous when I was picked to be captain. There are so many great seniors that have such a big role and impact, and I didn’t want to overstep my role. But I view it as a privilege and an honor to serve my team for hopefully two years.
My goal is to bring excitement and energy … and also to emphasize that everyone at the end of the day has a huge role on the team.
Q: What’s your favorite part about running cross country?
A: One of my favorite parts of cross country is that every day we have the opportunity to explore the town of Amherst. And I think running itself is an exhilarating experience and being able to do it with teammates makes it an even more special experience. This season I feel like the big sister role comes into play, since my own sister is a freshman in college, so I think that’s one of my favorite aspects of this season: being a friend and a teammate to the underclassmen, but also being someone that looks out for them.
Q: How has the team been preparing for the season?
A: Training season for us starts in May. We get our weekly mileage plan that we do throughout the summer until September. So the majority of the work for this season has already been done. Now, we have hard workouts twice a week, we lift twice a week and our typical mileage is between 30-60 miles a week. But at this point, recovery is more important than anything else – we have to take care of our bodies.
Q: What’s something you would want someone to know about XC?
A: That it really is a team sport at the end of the day. And yes, to be our best as a team we have to be our best individually, but at the end of the day, every person on the team is critical to our success.