Van Eaton staying focused throughout the summer

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Waiting for the fans/Eija

Waiting for the fans/Eija

Cougar cross-country star keeps trucking through the heat

Summer might not seem like a busy of a time for University of Regina Cougar athletes, but if you know anything about the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, you know there is no off-season.

 Jesse Van Eaton is a prime example. She can’t even be persuaded to take a break from her running schedule.

“We took a week break of absolutely nothing, which was really hard for me to do, so I did some stuff anyway.” Jesse said with a grin on her face.

It is tough to keep a runner from doing what she loves to do, even for just a week.

The summer schedule is a hectic time for the Cross Country team, and Van Eaton’s personal schedule reflects that. Her program requires a steady 70km to 80km per week, with team practices mixed in as well. I can personally attest to Jesse’s focus, as I actually raced against her in the local Royal Road Race in May. Suffice to say, she thoroughly kicked my ass…

The mileage might seem extreme, but it is part of the commitment that is expected from the Cross Country team, even if that means running in less than ideal conditions.

“The rain didn’t affect me at all; I love running in the rain!” Van Eaton said with a laugh. “It’s so much better running in the rain than in +30 weather.”

Soon, the end of summer will be upon us, and that is when things will really pick up for the Cougar runners. That is when Graeme (Doc) McMaster’s coaching really comes into play.

“At the end of August we have Doc’s camp, where we go to Moose Jaw for about 3 to 4 days. That’s where we have our time trials to see where we are at the beginning of the season,” says Van Eaton.

Van Eaton and her teammates will put all of this summer’s work into game time action. It’s all about get that new “PB”, which is runner’s lingo for a personal best time or place in a race. Jesse is making that her focus for this racing season.

“This coming season I really want to push myself, especially in track. I want to break all my PBs”, stated the second year athlete.

While the focus might be on individual times and places, cross-country is still a team sport, and the Cougars are a unique team to say the least.

“The distance team is… it’s very fun.” Jesse says with a laugh and big smile on her face. “It’s like a family, but a very weird family.” This includes team captain Avery Westberg who happens to be one of the best runners in Canada.

“Having Avery on the team last year, she was something else. She was such a good team leader last year. Even though she has such a crazy personality, she got us focused when we had to get focused.”

It is hard not be excited about the upcoming year for the Cougars Cross Country team, and Jesse exemplifies that enthusiasm. Be sure to watch for her and the rest of the Cougars team to continue making waves in the world of running.

With their off-season dedication, the team is well positioned to achieve the ambitious objectives they have set for themselves.

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