Runner’s setbacks become ‘water under the bridge’

By Katlynn Emaus

The Golden Grizzlies had one of its very own runners win the Viking Invite on Sept. 25. Senior Morgan Bridgewater won the 5K with a time of 20:40. The course, according to Bridgewater, was a difficult one to maneuver.

“You really have to push yourself to try and keep your pace going uphill,” Bridgewater said. “It didn’t help that the course was a loop that you had to run twice, we had to do the the hills twice.”

The hilly course is not the only thing that had an effect on the runners — it was also quite hot.

“Temperature plays a huge role, especially when it’s hot,” Bridgewater explained. “To overcome the heat and the hills, I just kept telling myself to keep pushing forward. You have to stay mentally strong which is what I tried to do.”

Bridgewater added 1:29 to her overall best time — 19:11. However, according to Bridgewater, 

“Your time always depends on the course.”

Another factor that has played a role in Bridgewater’s season are her feet. Feet are, obviously, critical for cross country runners, but according to Paul Rice, head coach of Oakland’s cross country team, Bridgewater has extremely flat feet.

“Her feet have a ground up effect on her,” Rice said. “They start bothering her shins, knees and sometimes even her hips. She does not have pretty feet for a cross country runner.”

Over the years, Bridgewater has been trying new shoes and inserts to try to accommodate her flat feet.

“Good shoes are a huge part of running, especially for how much we run,” Bridgewater said. “After a few trial runs with many different shoes, I’m now in a supportive shoe made by Brooks, the Adrenaline.”

Rice was excited to see Bridgewater run a difficult course in less than ideal conditions pain free. Her injuries have caused some setbacks and frustration with training.

The cross country team is also doing a different type of training this fall, according to Rice.

“We took four weeks off of competition,” Rice explained. “This summer we built a lot of strength. We focused on more volume of our milage over the quality. Then we tried to keep up the volume and increase the quality. And sometimes competitions get in the way of that kind of training because they take a lot of physical and mental energy.”

On Oct. 3, Rice took the top 10 women and top 10 men to the Greater Louisville Classic to test his hypothesis of taking four weeks off of competition. Bridgewater was absent from the group because of her injuries, but both teams still ran extraordinarily well.

Jacob Bowman placed fifth with a best time of 24:48 and Bryce Stroede finished behind him in sixth at 24:55, which helped the Oakland’s men’s cross country team claim the 8K Blue Race Title with 52 points.

For the women, Miranda Haas also achieved a best time of 18:06 placing ninth in the women’s 5K, with Ashley Burr placing 11th with the time of 18:07. The women’s team placed third with 97 points.

Rice explained how on the women’s team, any five can cross the finish line and that would be the new top five. All the girls are so close in time, and he sees Bridgewater up there.

“She lost a lot of training,” Rice said. “But if she is patient and healthy with these next four weeks, I can see her in the top five, top seven for leagues, which is where I know she wants to be. She would rather be participating than looking in.”

Oakland will compete at the Horizon League championship on Oct. 31 in Cedarville, Ohio. Bridgewater hopes to be participating.

“My goals are to stay healthy, and keep improving with my teammates,” Bridgewater said. “Just hoping things will keep going up from here.”