Friday, November 14, 2008

Inspired by Lohner, team heads to regionals at Indiana

Issue date: 11/14/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

On Oct. 29, the Wednesday before the MAC Championship meet, sophomore Raeanne Lohner went before her teammates and delivered a speech that teammates called both powerful and inspirational.

Lohner, a sophomore from East Grand Rapids, talked of the purpose her high school team ran with while the "E" representing her team was emblazoned on their jerseys. She felt the women's cross country team should feel the same passion running with the CMU Flying "C" across their chests.

"My inspiration was to start a tradition of understanding that we're not only running each race for our teammates, but also running each race for the thousands of other CMU athletes that have worn that jersey and the thousands that will wear it after us," Lohner said.

"It's our responsibility to honor the jersey through competing hard."

Senior Amanda Rudert felt the speech hit home. Three days later, on Nov. 1, the Chippewas turned in their best race of the year, finishing fourth at the MAC Championships while each runner turned in a personal best time.

"Before the race, we all committed to honoring the jersey," Rudert said. "And I know that it helped that weekend."

Two weeks after the breakthrough race, the team travels Saturday to the Great Lakes Regional Championships at West Lafayette, Ind., where both the team and individual runners will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

"Raeanne is very passionate and I think it was very inspirational for everyone to hear from her what it means to put on the CMU uniform," said coach Karen Lutzke said.

CMU is ranked No. 10 in the recent regional rankings, its highest spot since 2001.

Although Rudert and fellow senior Michelle Diverio are the only seniors competing in the 6K race, Lutzke said the other three still mean a lot.

"It's like they're racing too," Lutzke said. "It's harder for the girls who aren't competing because they want to be competing and it means just as much to them as the girls who are racing."

Rudert stressed that both seniors running want to go out with their best effort for all of the hard work they have put in during their four years.

"Being my last race, I want to put everything I have in and leave it all on the course," she said.

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