Nov 142007
Authors: Anica Wong

They banter about who said what line in a movie. They wear Ram tattoos and green ribbons in their hair at races as a sign of team unity.

Above anything, their ability to work together has helped get them reach heights their program has never gotten to.

And where are they? The women’s cross country team is heading to the NCAA National Championships on Monday.

The team spirit and unity oozes out of this group of seven women. The feeling is different from last year, some of them say, where the runners worried more about her own personal goals than what the whole team could do.

This year, though, they know that running for each other is what has propelled the team to a 12th-place national ranking.

“Everyone is in it for the team and not necessarily as much for themselves,” senior April Thomas said.

Kristen Hemphill said it best when she said, “Run for your team, not for yourself.”

This has almost become the team mantra, so much that when Thomas dealt with foot pain a couple weeks back, she wasn’t as worried about herself as she was scared to let her team down.

Part of the reason this group gets along so well is that they all have the same goals, which were established at their pre-season camp. They wanted to win the Mountain West Conference and the Mountain Region Championships, as well as finish in the top ten at the national meet.

They have accomplished two of the three and head to Indiana to try to check off that last one.

“When we come to practice, we all have the same goals, the same motivations,” said senior Melissa Thomas, twin sister of April Thomas.

And the feeling that each individual is part of something bigger has increased every time the team wins another race.

“After every race we get closer,” freshman Allison Gohl said.

Some attribute their differing personalities, the twins included, for the success of the squad.

Others are motivated by knowing that each girl is supported by her whole team.

“Each and every one of us, including coach (Bryan Berryhill), values everyone on the team,” April Thomas said.

Either way, the squad is ready to head to nationals and make its mark- together.

“We all need to realize what we have as a team and use it to the max on Monday,” Gohl said.

The women plan on leaving everything at the meet in Indiana because where they finish is not a ranking, but rather it is their place on the national level.

“This is nationals,” Gohl said. “We don’t have to have anything left.”

When it comes down to it, this team is motivated to run hard and stay strong for the other women they call their teammates.

“It is so much fun when you have that much love for your team,” April Thomas said.

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