The CSU cross country team is driven by one goal, to win through teamwork.
Both the men and women have their sights set on making it to the 31-team NCAA Regionals come October, and they aim to push each other to reach that point.
â€œWe want to do everything we can for our seniors,â€ sophomore Hannah Pensack-Rinehart said. â€œWe want to use each otherâ€™s energy to improve and are focused on the team dynamic.â€
Pensack-Rinehart is part of the five-member group of Rams that finished atop the teamâ€™s race chart in Saturdayâ€™s Rustbuster Invitational in Colorado Springs.
Pensack-Rinehart ran a career best 14:23.78 two-and-a-half mile, good for first place and Mountain West Player of the Week. She looks to continue building on her performance for the future.
â€œOur team goal is to keep pushing to do more,â€ Pensack-Rinehart said. â€œOur team goal is to go to nationals; so we need to keep building from here.â€
The menâ€™s section of the team features several prominent members, including senior Spenser Lynass. Lynass is coming off of a 2010-11 season in which he qualified for the NCAA Mountain Regional, finishing 22nd in the 8,000-meter race.
â€œLast year was rather successful,â€ Lynass said. â€œBut our biggest challenge as a team is to overcome past under-achievements to reach our full potential.â€
Lynass eventually hopes to qualify for the USA Championships and the Olympics in the future, but for now heâ€™s focused solely on doing what he can to help his team get better.
â€œBoth of our other seniors (Jake Keyser and Andrew Lesser) have been vital to our teamâ€™s success,â€ Lynass said. â€œTheyâ€™ve both been great leaders for our younger members and have pushed me to get better as well.â€
The Rams are lead by head coach Bryan Berryhill, who was the 2007 Womenâ€™s Coach of the Year. Berryhill was also successful as a runner at CSU, where he was a 10-time All-American and two-time national champion in four years from 1998-2001.
Berryhill feels the Ramsâ€™ strength this season is the ability to put out multiple strong runners each meet.
â€œOur depth this year has been great,â€ Berryhill said. â€œBut overall I feel that the team unity on both squads is as good as itâ€™s been since Iâ€™ve arrived.â€
The Rams will look to continue their run towards a NCAA berth in Minnesota next week at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24. The team will also be hosting the Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29.
â€œWe hope the students show up,â€ Berryhill said. â€œItâ€™d be great to have a home-field advantage going into the tournament.â€
Club Sports Beat Reporter Christopher Boan can be reached at email@example.com.