RICHMOND, Va. – VCU Athletics will get its first taste of an Atlantic 10 Championship event this weekend when the VCU Cross Country teams will compete in the A-10 Championship Meet. VCUAthletics.com caught up with head cross country coach Nicole Cook, before the team left for the event in Philadelphia.
VCUAthletics.com: What have you been impressed with throughout the season?
NC: I've been impressed with how tenacious and consistent my runners have been in my absence. This season has been the most consistent season for the team since I took over the cross country program.
VCUAthletics.com: The men's side has a good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen, how have they blended together to become a solid team?
NC: They have blended well as a solid team because their class doesn't matter to them. They are all concerned with reaching their common team goal and to do better as a whole. The team knows that it can only be accomplished if they are a solid, close team with a common goal that everyone is trying to reach.
VCUAthletics.com: On the women's side you guys are very young, what are some of the improvements you have seen throughout the season from them?
NC: I've seen the women become more consistent and confident in their abilities. Each meet they have gotten better and they have learned to compete harder with their new competition.
VCUAthletics.com: What do you except to see out of the team this weekend?
NC: I expect to see them all go out there and make a statement for VCU. As a new team in the Atlantic 10 no one expects us to do anything. So I expect them to break that assumption and hopefully turn some heads.
VCUAthletics.com: It is a new event for your team on a new course, what are some of the advantages to that, and what are some of the challenges?
NC: A race is a race, no course or track is the same. So the advantage is the thrill of tackling a new cross country course that we've never raced on. The disadvantage is the fact that we are one team that has never experienced this course, but we are anticipating that. In cross country most of the athletes like different courses because it makes it more fun.
VCUAthletics.com: Describe the impact Brenden Leavitt has had on the program the last two seasons?
NC: Brenden Leavitt has been a great runner for VCU over the past two seasons because he has chosen to be a better runner. He focused and developed a confidence in himself that makes him the runner he is today.
VCUAthletics.com: On the men's side you have had a good season, including winning the CNU Invite, what are your goals for them for the weekend?
NC: My goal for them is to be tough and compete with the best the A10 has right now. If they do, they will be a top finisher in the meet.
VCUAthletics.com: The women's team you have a bunch of young runners, and a lot of athletes are running in their first or second championship meet, what advice or strategy have you given to them?
NC: The best advice I can give all my athletes is to lay everything on the line and do their best.
VCUAthletics.com: What are your goals for the women's team going into the weekend?
NC: My goal for the women would be for them to have their best showing than they've had all year, and to compete with heart.