This fall was an exciting cross-country season for Hardin-Simmons University athletes.
The University sent four athletes to run in the NCAA regional qualifier at Whitworth University in Washington, and left with some exciting news. Kylah Holland, a junior biology/pre physical therapy major from Clyde, placed fifth at regionals, and was the first cross-country runner at Hardin-Simmons to qualify for the NCAA national race.
According to Holland, the temperatures and weather was one of the most challenging aspects of the race. “When we arrived at the course the morning of nationals, it was about 26 degrees but with the 28 mph wind, it had a "feels like" temperature of 9 degrees,” Holland said. “It's safe to say it was freezing cold, literally.
Not to mention that it had been snowing all week long so even though they plowed the course, some parts of it were still ankle-deep with snow. They had a huge tent for all of the athletes to gather and stay warm, as well as all sorts of snacks and drinks. It was crazy being surrounded by so many talented athletes, and people from every state.”
However, despite the challenges that the weather and temperature brought, spectators and fans encouraged athletes despite the cold.
“One thing that I did not expect and was not prepared for, was the insane number of spectators and how much noise they made cheering for us.” Holland said. “As soon as the gun went off, you could hear the crowd literally roaring at us and for us.
There were people lined up across basically the entire course... some of them had some chants that they sang, and others just yelled. It was unlike any other experience I have had. Having all of those fans to cheer us on really helped me as I ran through the snow. It was one of the hardest races I have run, just because of the weather conditions. But it was so much fun, and I have been extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to represent our school at the highest level.”