Seneca Valley cross country runners Megan Aaron and Abby Lizweski have qualified for the PIAA Championships in Hershey, PA this Saturday.
At the WPIAL Championship at Cooper’s Lake, PA on October 27, Aaron, sophomore, placed 17th and Lizweski, junior, placed 21st. Both runners had personal records at the meet and played an important role in leading the girls’ team to 5th place.
As the States Championship come closer, both girls are preparing themselves for their races.
“My preparations right now are to get mentally focused. I know I’m physically ready for the race, I just have to get pumped up for it. It will be a hard run so I’m trying to stay calm,” Lizweski said.
A typical cross country course is 3.1 miles filled with rocky terrain, mud, grassy fields, and what seems like an endless amount of hills. The course at Hershey is no exception. “The course is challenging, it has many hills that go on forever,” as described by Lizweski, “the finish is hard because you have to run up a hill right before the final straightaway.”
However, Aaron and Lizweski do not seem to be phased by the daunting task that they will face on Saturday. Their training has prepared them for this point. With the start of the pre-season conditioning in June, they have had almost five months to push themselves at practice and race in the hopes of performing well at WPIALs and States.
Aaron described the season’s training plan as a combination of easy run days that occur twice a week and a mix of speed, sprinting, and hill workouts. The middle of the season is called “crunch time,” and is packed with hard workouts before the runners taper, or rest, for competition at the end of the season.
After running at WPIALs, Aaron and Lizweski were able to evaluate their races in order to better prepare themselves for their race in Hershey. Both girls have modifications to make in their race strategies, whether that be going out faster and finishing stronger or drinking more water to stay hydrated for their race.
Aaron is planning her race by starting the race in a good spot. She plans to settle into her tempo for the majority of the race and then pick it up in the last mile for a strong finish.
The girls will be competing at the PIAA Championships alongside the boys’ team who won the WPIAL Championships. The two teams will leave for the competition Friday, November 3.