Sep 132011
 
Authors: Christopher Boan

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.

“We want to do everything we can for our seniors,” sophomore Hannah Pensack-Rinehart said. “We want to use each other’s energy to improve and are focused on the team dynamic.”

Pensack-Rinehart is part of the five-member group of Rams that finished atop the team’s race chart in Saturday’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.

“Our team goal is to keep pushing to do more,” Pensack-Rinehart said. “Our team goal is to go to nationals; so we need to keep building from here.”

The men’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.

“Last year was rather successful,” Lynass said. “But our biggest challenge as a team is to overcome past under-achievements to reach our full potential.”

Lynass eventually hopes to qualify for the USA Championships and the Olympics in the future, but for now he’s focused solely on doing what he can to help his team get better.

“Both of our other seniors (Jake Keyser and Andrew Lesser) have been vital to our team’s success,” Lynass said. “They’ve both been great leaders for our younger members and have pushed me to get better as well.”

The Rams are lead by head coach Bryan Berryhill, who was the 2007 Women’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 Rams’ strength this season is the ability to put out multiple strong runners each meet.

“Our depth this year has been great,” Berryhill said. “But overall I feel that the team unity on both squads is as good as it’s been since I’ve arrived.”

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.

“We hope the students show up,” Berryhill said. “It’d be great to have a home-field advantage going into the tournament.”

Club Sports Beat Reporter Christopher Boan can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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