The Gannon University women’s cross country team has been nothing but on the rise since the start of the 2012 season. There have been some eye-catching changes and developments that have hit the Knights, but more than “what” has been added, it is “who.”
Freshmen Nicole Bubie and Veronica Bujdos have set the sights high for the women’s cross country team.
Choosing Gannon for its education and small-town feel, these two all-stars find their sport is calling their names. Bubie came to Gannon to become a physician assistant, and is now she is setting personal bests on the course, having recently taken third-place individually and helped the women’s cross country team claim a second-place finish this past weekend at the Roberts Wesleyan Invitational. Her time of 18 minutes, 14 seconds was her second-best this season.
Bujdos, who said she came to Gannon for the biology program, also helped the Knights earn second place by setting her personal best this past weekend with a time of 18:36.
Both women agree that their choice to come to Gannon has been the right one.
“I know I definitely made the right decision” Bujdos said.
“Everyone is really friendly” Bubie said, “It is like we are a family.”
Neither of Gannon’s two leading runners said she imagined attaining such success during her freshman years, and both of them said it hasn’t been easy.
“Having a really good senior year definitely prepared me,” said Bubie.
Bujdos said “It has not been my best year, but it is still the beginning.”
It is a given that the first year of anything may present some growing pains, but for two Knights — whether they may think it or not — have proven themselves.
Both attribute their successes to the support the team provides.
“We are constantly pushing each other,” Bujdos said.
Bubie said, “There is no pressure by the team, just what I put on myself.”
This sentiment is mutual between the two, who say it is not uncommon within sports such as cross country. “The majority of the pressure comes from who I am racing against,” Bubie said.
Just like in any sport Bubie and Bujdos have good and bad days.
“There is one thing I live by,” Bubie said, “If you have a bad race you just have to get over it.”
Bujdos also trains hard each and every day to make sure she doesn’t have to deal with getting over a bad race. She said her main focus is maintaining speed and she spilled her secret on how she is doing this.
“I stretch every morning when I get up, and twice a week I do abdominal workouts with the team,” Bujdos said.
Bubie’s main focus differs.
“It all depends on the runner and what they are capable of,” she said. To avoid injury and to excel, Bubie said she tries “to know your body and when and how much to push it.”
Bubie, who hails from Rochester, N.Y., is hoping to be in the region’s top 30 to qualify for the Atlantic Regional in November but has a more modest goal of decreasing her time for the Pennsylvania State Atlantic Conference Championships during the Oct. 20 weekend.
Bujdos, who is from Indiana, Pa., and the rest of the runners from the women’s team are preparing every day for the new course this weekend. The meet will be held at Slippery Rock University, which is the same course Gannon will be running during the PSAC.
“This race will be harder than most,” Bubie said. “It is a 6K rather than 5K course.”
The only thing the entire Gannon team can do physically together to prepare for the weekend is “to not slow down half way through and to maintain our speed,” Bujdos said.
These two freshman sensations have been improving their times each and every weekend. The race on Saturday in Slippery Rock will be their chance to see what needs to improve or stay the same.
Both Bubie and Bujdos note that the 6K race will take a lot of preparation mentally and physically.
“We will need to get enough rest the night before the race,” Bujdos said.
In order to be on their ‘A’ game they will need to go into the race with a “calm attitude,” Bubie added.