Coach helps athlete succeed

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Sports can be a frustrating way to live your life. With the right support system and a lot of try Kayla Gourley, a junior from Wichita, Kansas, is pushing her limits and finding that the frustration might all be worth it.

On Sept. 2 the cross country teams went to Edmond for the UCO Land Run. Gourley on her first run as a Ranger had a 21.06 second run, which carried her to 10th place on the all-time list at Northwestern.

“Now that I’ve run a 21:06 my next goal is to beat the school record,” Gourley said, “which is a 19:30. So I’m thinking if I ran this well at my first meet then on a fast course I can probably beat the record.”

The Ranger’s women’s team finished 12th overall as a team and the men finished seventh. This was Jill Lancaster’s first meet as head cross country coach, and she was proud of how they did in their first match, she said.

Lancaster proved to be just the support system Gourley needed to succeed. Although Gourley said her father was always supportive her mother wasn’t.

“I grew up with divorced parents and my dad was much nicer than my mom,” Gourley said. “My dad would support me and my mom didn’t believe in me. Every time I accomplish something I want to tell her how I achieved things she said I would never achieve.”

Support is a thing that helps Gourley succeed.

“Lancaster is a great coach,” she said. “I absolutely love everything about her. After every single thing you run she’s always saying ‘good job, your doing great’.” Lancaster has coached at many places and has many years of wisdom; this is why Gourley said she decided to put her trust in her, even when Lancaster had a different approach than Gourley was used to.

“Here I’ve been running around 20 miles a week and I came from a junior college where I was running 50 to 55 miles per week,” she said. “So when I was running half of the miles I was running at the junior college I thought I was not going to perform well.”

Gourley now plans to break the Northwestern record.