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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the Mid-Atlantic Regional happening this past weekend, the Nittany Lion cross country teams are officially winding down the season and the senior runners are feeling a bit sentimental as they go into their last NCAA Cross Country Championships this weekend.
"I'm excited. I'm sad, obviously. I'm gonna miss this place and miss running cross country with these girls. We obviously still have track seasons, but we've been working hard and we have so much fun together," senior Greta Lindsley said. "I'm very proud and I believe in them so much and I believe in myself, so I think we're gonna have fun and hopefully we can prove how hard we've been working."
"I think I'll just miss the team the most and the comradery and preseason and just I don't know I'll miss everything," senior Tim McGowan added.
Aside from missing the people and the memories, the seniors will also miss the different aspects that cross country had to offer. Although there are still indoor and outdoor track seasons left, they say that cross country has a way different dynamic than track.
"It's just like this grind you know. It's just like you don't really get it on the track and it's a completely different atmosphere. It has more to do with the team," senior Jillian Hunsberger said. "It's kinda like yeah, we're all just going to go out there and have a good time and race and see what happens at the end of the day."
The senior runners who have been traveling with the team have made a huge impact on the Penn State cross country program and will be missed by more than just their teammates, but their coaches too.
"I think the sacrifices that they've made the four years and seeing the progress that all of them have made has really been enjoyable over the years. Jillian Hunsberger, for instance, coming in being All-American and really just making a big contribution this year and being a great team leader," assistant coach Angela Reckart said.
"Greta (Lindsley) has been an impact and Victoria (Crawford), you know, they all bring something unique to the table. Aside from their physical talents I think just their personalities just so unique. On the guy's side, Tim McGowan has really been an important factor to this team. Great team captain this year. Yeah, we have a great group. It's gonna be really sad to see them go," Reckart said.
Although it is sad to see the season come to an end, the memories that Penn State cross country has brought them will stay with them forever. The senior runners reflected on some of their favorite moments with the team.
"Definitely when we won Big Tens. That was by far the best experience of my life. I think that's just something that everyone should strive to achieve at least once in their career because it was just, I don't know, the atmosphere everything was so amazing," Hunsberger said.
"It had to be winning Big Tens my sophomore year in Chicago, just being the underdogs and coming after number two Michigan and we beat them. It was the best cross country memory ever," Lindsley said.
Even with all this reflecting, the season isn't over quite yet for the Nittany Lions. The women will be racing as a team at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this weekend in Louisville, KY. Tim McGowan and Colin Albert will also be representing Penn State for the men as individuals at the meet.
"I'm feeling pretty excited. It is a little sad going into my last cross race, but we're just trying to put together a good last one," McGowan said.