Sept. 30, 2010
BEAUMONT, Texas -
BEAUMONT, Texas -- Taylor Cloy has turned the page on the last cross country season, and so far, this season's page is a lot more enjoyable.
After missing most of the 2009 women's cross country slate due to injuries, Cloy made the most of her 2010 debut by placing second at the Justin F. Cooper Memorial at Rice University.
"It was exciting to come back and do so well," said Cloy, who covered the 4,100-meter course in 14 minutes, 39 seconds. "I felt good."
Cloy, a junior from Magnolia, Texas, believes this season's version of the Lady Cardinals has a chance to compete for the Southland Conference title.
"All of us have improved," she said. "Coach (Jake) Stewart has us running twice a day. We're having good workouts. I know I've gotten so much better. Nora-Beth Saunders looks like a different runner.
"We were sixth in the conference last season. We're not going to finish that low again this year."
When she's not running an average of 10 miles per day, Cloy remains busy taking a full load of classes as she pursues a degree in nursing and in working at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital.
"Sometimes I barely have enough time to breathe," she said. "But you have to be dedicated. Everyone who runs cross country has to love it. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it."
Count her coach among those who are impressed by Cloy's determination.
"She's an incredibly hard worker," Stewart said. "She has a ton on her plate both athletically and academically, and she does a great job balancing both."
This week, Cloy will be part of the Lamar's men's and women's cross country teams that will compete at the Mason Invitational hosted by George MAson University in Leesburg, Va., on Saturday. The women will run 6 kilometers at 10 a.m., while the men will race over 8 kilometers at 10:45 a.m.
Stewart is confident of a strong showing by both squads.
"Our group is coming off a sound block of training. We've been consistent, and Saturday provides us a chance to open up," Stewart said. "We want to be competitive, we want to race with a purpose, see where we are at, and then get back to Beaumont and start working again. I think we have a group that won't overanalyze anything, they'll take what comes to them and they understand that this race is the first step in the process. We're excited to get going."
Cloy is looking forward to the challenge.
"We're going to face some tough competition," Cloy said. "That will definitely help us prepare for the rest of the season and get ready for the conference championships."
And with that, Cloy was off and running to her next assignment.