National expectations high for Reyes, GoffAleona Reyes is going for a third time, while teammate Samantha Goff is a rookie, but expectations are high for both Jimmies as they prepare for the NAIA national cross country meet.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Aleona Reyes is going for a third time, while teammate Samantha Goff is a rookie, but expectations are high for both Jimmies as they prepare for the NAIA national cross country meet.
Reyes is on a roll and looks poised to make a run at her second straight All-American performance. The junior from Belen, N.M., finished 12th out of 323 runners last year in Vancouver, Wash., the same site the meet will be held at on Saturday.
“Aleona’s last three or four meets have almost mirrored what she did in those same races last year. She is running very well right now, so hopefully everything is coming together for her,” JC women’s cross country coach Jim Clark said.
Reyes’ time of 18:03 last season was faster than Katie Conlon’s best time at nationals. Conlon is now running for NCAA Division I power Oregon. Conlon and Reyes were teammates for the Jimmies two years ago.
“This is an awfully talented field of runners, so Aleona will have to be at her best to accomplish anything like she did a year ago,” Clark said. “Aleona goes into every race with a positive frame of mind and a good idea about what she wants to do and she knows how to race in a crowd of runners.”
Goff has proved to be a natural in her first cross country season. The Danvers, Minn., native played volleyball in the fall in high school, but has been a smashing success for the Jimmies.
“Samantha just continued to improve and impress as the season wore on,” Clark said. “She is a cross country natural — tall and strong and injury free to this point.”
Goff has consistently been the Jimmies’ No. 2 runner, and was in the top spot when Reyes was dealing with health issues early in the season.
She’s also not afraid to mix it up, Clark said.
“She is not timid — not afraid to race near the front of the pack,” he said. “But Sam’s biggest asset is a positive attitude.”
That last part will come in handy as the weather conditions are expected to be typically cool and wet.
Both Reyes and Goff are coming off personal best times at the Association of Independent Institutions meet in Escondido, Calif., two weeks ago and Clark says both have trained well leading up to tomorrow’s race.
“At the very least it will be a wonderful and valuable experience,” he said.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at 701-952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com