NEC Cross Country concludes season at Division lll East Regional Championship

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New England College’s Cross Country team wrapped up their season after competing in the Division III East Regional Championship hosted by Suffolk University on Saturday in Hopkinton, NH.

NEC was represented by three female runners, Keegan Finley, Aleesa Jordan, Samantha Johnson, and one male runner, Malik Keresey. The team beat their personal best time that was recorded at last year’s regional event. 

Finley, a senior, performed the best for the Pilgrims, with a time of 25:31.38. Jordan finished in 32:38.94, Johnson finished in 29:56.32, and Keresey crossed the finish line at 31:44.45.

Head Coach Steve Kraytenberg said the personal records were a strong example of the team’s season-long hardwork.  

“The seasons gone pretty well, quite a few of them have achieved personal records every time they run, which is what I’m looking for them to do,” Kraytenberg said. 

Kraytenberg also spoke about the intense work out regiments that have prepared his team for success, and how he tries to and replicate race day during practice.

“Standardized practices throughout the year, simulating race day every Saturday, work outs, hills and intervals are done at the beginning of the week, and then we get into some long runs and then stretch out,” Kraytenberg said. 

Finley, the top-ranking member of the team and a member of the GNAC all-conference team, said she loved the environment and intense preparations.

“I prepare for races starting in the off-season. I train every day of the week, pushing myself to be faster each day. When it comes to regional championships, I make sure I am in a good headspace the week prior. I make sure to get enough sleep and fuel my body well. On the day of, I keep a plan in my head for the pace and overall time I want to finish the race with. Our goal is to PR (personal record) each race, improvement is a sign of our training paying off. This year it was difficult for us all to prepare because of the delays with the championships being held in Maine. We all powered through it and gave regionals our all, even with the cold temperatures and delays,” Finley said. 

Finley attributes a lot of her success to her coach and team. 

“The cross-country team means so much to me. I came to Coach as a Sophomore, explaining that I wanted to put my running in my free time to use. I was welcomed by Coach and the entire team with open arms. I felt extremely at home and like I made an impact. I quickly became a leader and I wanted to continue that welcoming aspect for years to come. The team is all so close and supportive in and out of practice. We are a family, and I could not have asked for a better team these last three years,” Finley said. 

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