The William Smith cross country team kept busy during the spring semester despite being out of season. The Herons were active in the Geneva community working with the HWS Kids Running Club and the Girls Running and Body Image Program at Geneva Middle School.
Several of the Heron cross country runners assisted with the HWS Kids Running Club. This club was organized this winter by Susan Pliner the Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment and the Director of Centennial Center for Leadership. The group met twice a week at Bristol Field House.
“The members of the William Smith cross country team brought a great energy and encouragement to the group. There’s a range of abilities in the group, but the student-athletes all helped the kids see themselves as runners. The kids really looked up to them as role models,” said Pliner.
The children range in age from 6-14 and were introduced to proper warm-up, stretching, proper running form and basic strength. They gradually built up their cardiovascular endurance each week and had fun doing it.
“The HWS Kids Running club was a wonderful experience, each meeting is filled with games, running technique drills and lots of silliness,” said senior Jeanine Cryan. “We have been fortunate to have Coach Julie Bailey and Susan Pliner leading the way and establishing a mentality for the club that emphasizes positivity, teamwork, and running as a fun way to exercise. My teammates and I really treasure the relationships we have built with the runners and feel that it has been a great way to share our love of our sport. I believe this club is really important for the kids because it builds self-esteem. It is so important to us that these kids know that they are strong, active and included in a group of HWS faculty, staff, students and kids that share a common interest.”
“I loved being involved with the HWS Kids Running Club,” said senior Ana Shavoir. “I think it’s really important for kids to have time to run around outside and have a chance to act silly and crazy during the day while also doing something that is good for them!”
Under the guidance of senior Carly Petroski the Herons are also in their second year of their after school program called “Run Like a Girl, Running and Body Image Program.” The after school program is geared toward sixth graders at Geneva Middle School and met twice a week for five weeks. Its purpose is two-fold, to share the excitement of running and to reinforce positive body image for the students.
This year the Herons won the Hobart Invitational and finished in third place at the Cross Country Only Conference Championship. William Smith also finished 16th out of 48 teams at the ECAC Championship and placed 28th out of 40 teams at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship, improving two spots from its 2013 finish.