The Keene State Women’s Cross Country team kicked off the season with a bang, taking all top five spot at the Rust Buster meet on Saturday, Sept. 1, according to the KSC Athletics Website.
Keene State hosted their Rust Buster on their home course at the Owl Athletic Complex. The KSC team ran against Husson University and Northern Vermont University-Johnson. The Keene State Women’s Cross Country team came out on top, winning with 15 points. Husson University came in second with 43 points, and NVU-Johnson took third place with 85 points.
KSC Junior Nutrition major and Women’s Cross Country runner Lynne Hebert said this is the first time the KSC Cross Country team has hosted the Rust Buster. The Rust Buster has replaced the Alumni meet that usually takes place during the first week of the season.
According to Hebert, the Rust Buster was a two mile race, shorter than the 5 kilometer races taking place in September and the 6 kilometer races starting in October. She said the race was used as a “dress rehearsal” for the rest of the season.
Hebert said the biggest goal for the Women’s Cross Country team in the 2018 season is winning back the LEC Title. The Women’s team had taken home the title from 2000-2016, but lost in 2017 to Eastern Connecticut.
“We had a 17-year streak going, so we definitely want to take that back and we definitely have a shot at it for sure,” she added.
Hebert said she wouldn’t pin one team as KSC’s biggest competition, but that the conference as a whole is improving and getting more competitive.
Along with that, Hebert added that new meets will be added to the team’s schedule in order to for them to have stronger competition
“We’re racing up in Maine twice, we’re going to Boudon College, so we’ll face NESCAC [New England Small School Athletic Conference] schools, some of those stronger Division III teams that we don’t normally see,” she said.
Hebert added that the team had a small recruiting class of one freshman, but that only makes her and her teammates more determined.
“We’re dealing with the same bodies that we had last year, but it’s an advantage because we know we have to work harder toward our own individual goals,” she said. “Our times have to be stronger, in the top 7 or the top 8,” she said. “It’s a very positive team this year, as a group and we have a great coaching staff.”
Hebert finished the race in third place with a time of 12:38.0. Lauren Perkowski took first at 12:12.8, followed by Alana Olendorf in second place at 12:32.0
First place winner, Lauren Perkowski is a KSC Junior and Environmental Science Major. She said she started running when she was she was in 7th grade, inspired by her father.
According to Perkowski, she believes the team can steal back the LEC Title by taking care of themselves and overcoming injuries.
“Right now we have a couple girls that are injured but if they can come back in time, I think that they could help us and if we just stay healthy and take care of our bodies and stay on top of things, I think we could win it for sure,” she said.
The Cross Country season is longer compared to other fall sports, Perkoski said. The season lasts until October 27th, while the ECAC(Eastern College Athletic Conference) Championship, and the NCAA(National College Athletic Association) Regional & Championship races take place in November. The season officially ends on Nov. 17.
“We have to make sure that we’re mentally keeping it together throughout the season, because it’s a long season, it’s over two months and that’s a while to stay on top of it mentally, so that will probably be the hardest thing,” Perkoski added.
Perkowski said she’s excited to race at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday, Sept. 15, so she can have a general knowledge of where she and her team rank in the LEC.
“It’ll be good because at Umass Dartmouth, we’ll see a lot of the schools that we race in the LEC race. So we’ll be able to see how we do there, and it will definitely give us a good idea,” she said.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Interventional will be taking place at 10:30 a.m. on the Umass Dartmouth campus. Students can stay up-to-date on the score at the KSC Athletics Website.
Ashley Arnold can be contacted at