PP Womens Cross-Country: Kickin It Into Gear

“The time has come, women. Run far, run fast.” A cough, a splutter from the audience and then, “La Mirada.” That was all Kathleen “KShea” Shea PO ’12 had to say. She stood stoic as a prophet among a herd of women who, in daylight hours, have come to be known as PPXC. The hottest team of the 5Cs, according to SCIAC official dictation. Bright faces, shining with a fine layer of sweat, stared wide-eyed at Shea as they awaited the pump-up. But a picture was worth a thousand words.

Shea drew runners’ attention to a single 8 1/2 x 11 black-and-white mugshot. Cecil the Sagehen, Shelley Chestler PO ’12 style.

“This is what we need to be thinking of, ladies, as we face our rivals. Pride. Sagehen pride.” Shea rapped the photograph with her pencil eraser. “We’ve gotta lay it all on the line here, ladies. This is it.”

Shea strode out the door of the classroom. A soft muttering ensued.

“Attention,” Kayla “Kandi” Eland PZ ’12 said as she rose. “This is for real, ladies, and Kath’s right. La Mirada is it. Balls out. That’s how we’ve gotta do it.”

Eland laughed a little, and then regained her composure. “But seriously, guys, let’s do this.”

The anxiety could only be the result of one thing: it’s Multi-Dual time. And in the land of PPXC, that means it’s time to get serious.

Tomorrow, the women of PPXC head to La Mirada Park: thick grass, a hill as steep as Baldy, and “watch out for divots!” The course is famous for much more than just the Roxanne Cook Memorial Detour. La Mirada Park offers a wide variety of intrigues: frisbee golfers around every turn; a plethora of waterfowl, fattened by the people who claim they didn’t read the “Don’t feed the ducks!” signs; and La Mirada’s very own Buccaneer Bay, a water park that teases our runners with promises of summer days spent giggling rather than panting.

“[The course] is daunting, for sure,” Megan “The Hulk” Farrell PO ’13 said. “But then again, we’re PPXC. I’m not worried. We ran up Mount Baldy for god’s sake!”

The race will have its fill of hills and ditches, but women who run up mountains for fun will not be frightened. Or distracted. When all the dribble drills have been completed, the dance-abs have been rocked, and the strides have been strode, there is nothing left to do. The team will start the morning with a clear record, a neat 0-0 as far as SCIAC is concerned, untouched by the past triumphs and tragedies of their three meets this year. After all is said and done, the runners will have given their best. Jerseys drenched from a hard morning’s work, the team will emerge from the meet with a dual score against each of the other schools in the conference. With any luck, the women will come out in the top half of SCIAC, in good standing to challenge conference speed demons Whittier, Oxy and CMS.

Thirty-one women sat in the classroom by Pauley Tennis Complex, staring at a black-and-white photograph of a matted polyester Sagehen taped haphazardly to the whiteboard.

“It’s for the pride,” Alana “Ke$ha” Shine PO ’14 muttered. “We’re gonna pick it up for the pride.”

The Hens race tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. at La Mirada Park.

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