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Top 10 finish for cross-country at Pioneer Invitational

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The back of the Sierra Nevada College’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams’ jerseys seem to be the only thing in sight for their opponents. At the 2018 Pioneer Cross Country Invitational the Eagles soared to a top 10 finish.

Photo: Pioneer Invitational
SNC cross-country team member Jose Ortiz finished second at the Pioneer Cross Country Invitational in September.

For the men’s team, sophomore Jose Ortiz, majoring in natural resource management, placed second, while freshman Brien Hosier, majoring in business and marketing, placed ninth.

For the women’s team, freshmen Isabelle Bertram, majoring in ODAL and environmental science, finished sixth, and senior Erika McCormick finished third.

Typically, women run a 5k and men run an 8k, but at this event distances were marked at 5.3k and an 8.3k, the toughest course in the conference. SNC represented quality over quantity, having proved it to work in their favor at the competition.

In his second season as head coach of SNC’s cross-country team, Uros Kogal is working on bringing attention to the program and improving its reputation. This year the Eagles are focusing on their technique to transform from high school to college runners, and to develop personal running styles.

Kogal believes teamwork is a great thing, however practice needs to be individualized. Not everyone has the same problems when it comes to running form so finding what each player needs to work on makes for a higher-performing team.

Kogal connects a majority of runners’ problems to length in stride, arm work, and hip position. He not only tells his runners, but also shows them, and focuses on these techniques during practices.

Photo: Pioneer Invitational
SNC cross-country team member Erika McCormick finished third at the Pioneer Cross Country Invitational in September.

“If it’s not quality, it won’t work,” Kogal said.

In hopes for new recruits, the SNC cross-country team is working hard to get its name out to expand the team. Kogal knows this will not happen overnight and with a short season he sets a high standard for quality to establish a good reputation as a team.

“My goal is to put SNC on the map. I am proud to be an Eagle!” Ortiz said.

Currently in his second season with four years of high school cross-country experience, Ortiz is working on improving his abilities by focusing on ankle work to avoid flat-footedness which will help him to keep pushing forward in those last miles.

“It is a good step forward and I am excited for what the future holds, I just have to keep working,” Ortiz said. He finished second at the Pioneer Invitational. Ortiz believes being humble and working hard will help improve his personal capabilities and help the cross-country team’s name.

Bertram came in with four years of high school indoor and outdoor track experience. Now in her first season at SNC, she is aiming to get her PR under 22 minutes. She felt good about placing sixth, but knows she can do better.

Hosier finds benefits to Kogal’s system.

“Nothing will work unless you do,” Hosier said.

This is Hosier’s first year running for SNC and he previously ran four years at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas. During his time there they won their division title.

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Top 10 finish for cross-country at Pioneer Invitational