Falcons run for victory

By Nick Moreau

Linda Fortunato runs cross-country and track.

The Fitchburg State University cross-country team will be competing in a league-championship race this weekend.
The Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference championship will be held at Stanley Park in Westfield, where Fitchburg State’s team will compete against all other Division III teams from the various state colleges and universities across Massachusetts, including the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Westfield State, Worcester State, Salem State, and Framingham State universities.
“I think it’s going to be really tight between Worcester, Westfield, and us; we’re not really sure what’s going to happen,” says junior Katy Scott, who is in her third year running for Fitchburg State University’s cross-country team.
The men’s cross-country team, which will run an 8-kilometer (5-mile) race at this year’s MASCAC championships, placed second in the race last year, and first in 2008.  They were seeded second in the division at the beginning of this year, according to Scott.  The men’s team is expecting junior frontrunner Chris Kibler to do well in the championships, as well as senior Matt Spano and sophomore Will Lary.
The women’s team will run a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race at the MASCAC championships.  Sophomore frontrunner Emily Lane is expected to place well, as are team captain Linda Fortunato and senior Erin Abbott.  At the beginning of the season, the women were seeded last in the league, but they’ve beaten many other MASCAC teams throughout the year, so they’re expecting good things during the championships.
“It’s our most competitive race of the season, so everyone is really looking forward to it,” says Scott.
The Fitchburg State cross-country team holds practices four days a week, and each member runs every day regardless.  Their training includes speed and distance work, as well as cross-training, to create well-rounded competitors.
And the training continues even after the fall cross-country season ends.
“Almost all of the cross-country team is on the track team [in the winter], so there’s pretty much no off-season,” says Scott.  “And then we have track and field in the spring.”
After the MASCAC championship this weekend, the cross-country team has the Alliance Championships on Oct. 30 in Paxton, where Division 3 schools from all over New England will be competing.  Finally, on Nov. 13, the top seven runners on the team will compete in the NCAA Division III New England Championships, held at Mount Graylock in Williamstown.
“I think it’s a really great team to be a part of,” says Scott.  “There’s just so much team spirit, which gets me really excited to see how well we do in the championship races in the upcoming weeks.”