Women’s cross country find motivation after third place finish at Anteater Invitational


Derrick Tuskan

SDSU Cross Country runners line up prior to their race at the Anteater Invitational

by Daniela Ramirez, Contributor

San Diego State’s women’s cross country team is more motivated than ever after placing third at the Anteater Invitational at UC Irvine on Wednesday. 

The Scarlet and Black competed with teams such as Cal Baptist and Long Beach State. Junior Jessica Kain placed sixth overall with senior teammate Emily Burd (Sr) placing 11th. 

Because of the pandemic, this was the first time many of SDSU’s runners have competed in a real race. Kain says she was ready to get back to racing. 

“I am so excited to race again,” Kain said. ”It’s been a while.” 

Coach Robert Lusitana says his athletes competed well on Wednesday. Coach Lusitana also believes the season looks very promising for his athletes, especially going to Regionals this year. 

“The team’s main focus is Regionals and the Pac-12,” Lusitana said.

With COVID-19 regulations still prominent in college sports — such as cancellations of bigger meets — Lusitana says the setbacks were one of the driving forces behind the close-knit bond the women have with one another. 

“As crazy as it sounds, it was a benefit for the team,” Lusitana said. 

Cross country is more than just running. To Kain, this team is a family on and off the course. 

“Everyone is so different in personalities — that is what makes the team,” Kain said. 

Running is a mentally tough sport. Kain says a crucial aspect of the team’s dynamic is having leaders that motivate one another to achieve goals. 

“We’re all about the team,” Kain said. “There’s lots of leaders setting good examples on how to be a runner and a good human being.”

Competing in the Mountain West Conference, these women have fierce competition. Lusitana says the team is focused on its goals for the upcoming season. He also says his athletes are dedicated to putting in the work with positive attitudes.

“It is a team effort,” Lusitana said. To Kain and many other athletes in her sport, cross country builds more than endurance. It builds character, friendships and unity among one another to carry them on throughout the season. 

“Running has taught me so much,” Kain says. The sport has taught her to push herself during tough times, as well built her respect for the other women in cross country. 

The Aztec travel to UC Davis to compete in the Stump Invitational on Sept. 10. 

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