The OHSAA high school XC season is over, but we're still excited for some championship-season cross country racing! This weekend is all about NCAA regional meets, so we caught up with Bluffton's Alexis Cash. The new coach at Bluffton is former CRC staffer Logan Wells, and his star senior is ready to end her collegiate XC career on a high note.
CRC: Heading into the regional meet, what's your goal? How has this season gone in general?
Alexis Cash: I have a few goals heading into the regional meet. I would like to get top 35, All-Region. After that, I would like to get top 20. The major goal is to make it to Nationals. I would need to get 20th or better for a good chance. This season has not been what I wanted. I have not come close to my PR this season. I look forward to the flat Regionals course this weekend as an opportunity to race well and finish the season well.
CRC: How did you get into running? Where did you run in high school?
AC: I didn't start running until my sophomore year of high school. Some friends of mine convinced me to try it. I had also played soccer and basketball in high school. I would play soccer indoor, and outdoor on a club team, while running cross country, and then track my senior year. I started getting recruited for running and have been running cross country and track ever since. I ran at Lake Fenton H.S. in Michigan.
CRC: What made you decide that you wanted to continue racing XC beyond high school? What was the transition to collegiate racing like?
AC: I enjoyed racing and I was racing well. I saw improvement and that motivated me to keep running. I enjoyed the team atmosphere. I started getting recruited and felt good about myself. I enjoyed running and wanted to continue in college. The transition was a little bumpy. I remember getting to Bluffton and running with the team. I saw a pack of ladies up front and I was struggling to keep up with them. It was different because in H.S. I was used to being the lead runner. H.S. was very individualized. When I got to Bluffton, I started to learn how cross country is a team sport and we are working hard for ourselves and our team. The training was harder, we ran a lot miles, and we lifted. Running in college was a bigger time commitment, and I learned to run for my team and not just myself.
CRC: Coaching changes always shift team dynamics. What's it been like to have Coach Wells take the lead with the team?
AC: It was difficult seeing the Brandt's leave. We were worried about the future of our program and what the new coaching would look like. I remember helping with interviews for new coaches. I knew the moment Coach Wells' interview ended that he was the one for our program. He was honest, open, and straightforward about what he wanted and his vision for our team. He emphasized the team culture and running for something more than yourself. There are things we need to work on as a team, but I believe Coach Wells is doing a great job for his first year of head coaching. I am thankful to have him as a coach. He truly cares about each of us as individuals, inside running and outside of running. As a senior, I am excited to see where he takes the team in the next few years. I believe he is going to build the program and lead a lot of runners to success.
CRC: Looking ahead, what are your running plans beyond college?
AC: I plan on attending seminary for 2 or 3 years after Bluffton. I will be busy, but I hope to join a running club. I like racing so I would like to race some 5k's, half marathons, and hopefully a marathon one day. I would love to trail race as well.
CRC: What piece of advice would you give to a high school runner considering running in college? What advice do you wish someone had shared with you?
AC: Running in college is a big commitment. It is going to be hard, and there will be days you just don't want to do it anymore. Know that you are strong enough to get through it, and do your best to enjoy the grind (as Coach Wells likes to say). It is such a blessing to be able to go out there and run everyday with your team. College goes by fast so enjoy being on the team. Enjoy racing. Everything you learn in running can be applied to life. Just like running, life is hard. It has its ups and downs. You will look back and be thankful you pushed yourself, you grew as a person, and you made really good friends. Make sure you take time to take care of yourself. Rest. Take naps. Eat healthy. Just have fun with it and enjoy the little things.
I wish someone would have told me to find joy in every moment. Running is hard and sometimes you go through the motions. You get caught up in a bad race or workout. Running in college is hard and time consuming but if you chose to look at it in a positive light every day it makes it worthwhile.