Syracuse, New York - In her last race for the Owls, UMPI's Kayla Legassie combined her coaches and her own race strategies to improve upon her 2012 USCAA National Championship seventh place, All-American performance.
Going into the meet, held at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY on November 8th, Legassie and Coach Chris Smith looked to have her at least in the top 15 with a 6:20 to 6:25 opening mile intended to serve the purpose. At the mile mark Coach Smith was a bit apprehensive as Legassie was a full 10 to15 seconds ahead of pace at 6:10 and in fifth position.
"Kayla started a bit quickly", notes Smith, "but her ability to recover within races all season was assuring."
At the mile and a half point Legassie was in sixth place and was passed on a steep hill just after the three kilometer mark.
"The very hilly terrain and soft, wet, and snowy conditions made this course more of a strength challenge, a type of course suited to Kayla. I told her that she was going to be passed for seventh but to settle in, recover on the flat after the two mile mark and to then go to work," Smith added.
After emerging from wooded area at the 2.6 mile point Legassie had regained the sixth position and had her sights on two runners 40 meters ahead. After maintaining that gap for the next kilometer Coach Smith reported next seeing Legassie with 600 meters to go.
Legassie gained on the runners ahead before out kicking one to gain the fifth position in the field of 148 runners. Her time of 24:39 over the six kilometer distance was 53 seconds better than her 2012 performance in Lake Placid.