Russo Off To a Running Start This Fall

Coming off of a national appearance last year, women’s cross country captain Ashley Russo is pushing herself and her team towards another appearance and possibly a conference championship.

Russo said this year she can feel the desire of the girls to get back to nationals and to be conference champs.

“After winning outdoor track conferences as a team this past spring, it ignited a fire in all the distance girls to win conference,” Russo said.

The women’s cross country team has finished in fifth, third and first in their last three races, with multiple girls within the top 10. Russo continues to push herself and her team towards their goals.

She finished sixth at the Indiana Wesleyan Twilight Invitational with a time of 19:07.2. She took first place overall at the Grand Rapids Raiders Cross Country Invitational with a time of 18:42.2 and because of that performance, she was named the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Cross Country Runner of the Week.

With big expectations placed upon them, Russo said she has an even bigger expectation: being a good captain.

“I want to set a good example of what my coach is trying to accomplish with his program and to get them (the girls) to believe that they are stronger and faster than what they think they are,” Russo said.

When asked what her individual goals for the season are, Russo says she wants to run sub 18 minutes in a 5k and place in the top five individually in the conference.

“You can always race faster and practice longer. With running, it’s almost impossible to reach your full potential because you can always go faster,” Russo said.

It’s no secret that she is a powerful asset to her team. With her strong start, Russo is already on the road to a standout season, but she doesn’t credit herself for it.

“It’s really my team who is pushing me to become not only a better runner, but a better person,” she said, “They are constantly inspiring me and they make me very proud.”