The Rowan women’s cross country season is in its home stretch in what has been a good year for the Profs. The biggest standout this season for the team has been sophomore chemical engineering student Anna Sasse.
Sasse has finished first for the team in the last two races they have competed in. Sasse started running cross country in high school, and probably would not have guessed that her cross country career would get to this point.
“When I first started running cross country, I just wanted to stay in shape,” Sasse said. “My friend was doing it and it was a free varsity spot in high school. Now it is my life.”
Sasse, who had a good freshman year, has improved this season hitting new personal records in both the 5K and 6K races. It was Sasse realizing what she needed to improve, and improving in those areas, that has taken her to this next level.
“I’m starting off faster in my races,” Sasse said. “The one race I did not do well in, I started out with a six minute and 30 second mile pace, this time my first mile was five minutes and 57 seconds. And then I just carried that through the race. That is making a difference for me. I’m not afraid to feel pain.”
Head Coach Derick “Ringo” Adamson has also seen this improvement through practice.
“It is the workout,” Ringo said. “It hits everyone the same way but she is just more into it. Granted this is her second year with me, she understands the process and how it goes. But when you get right here to the end, it is all about the mental process. With the physical stature that she has, it is just mental at this point.”
Ringo thinks her success is not just good for herself, but is also helping out her teammates.
“She gets them going. It is just like anything else, when you see someone like your teammate moving in the right direction, you do too. Inspiration is a great thing and she inspires everyone else,” Ringo said.
Sasse echoed a similar thought, and feels this also happens in reverse, as the team helps her as much as she helps them.
“There is a great dynamic this year with the team,” Sasse said. “There is a lot of support. If one person is having a great day, everyone is happy for them. There is no competition in a vindictive way. Everyone just loves each other.”
With the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship happening this weekend, Ringo has the utmost confidence in Sasse heading into the meet.
“I haven’t even told her this yet, just because I like to take it one day at a time. But to be totally honest with you she has a shot to get out of regionals and go to nationals. She really does and this weekend will tell her that,” Ringo said.
Despite Ringo not telling her this yet, Sasse is still setting high expectations for herself.
“My goal is to win,” Sasse said. “Hopefully I can do that. If not that, then I just want to do my best and feel tired when I cross the finish line.”
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