These three runners achieved top spots
without leaving each other in the dust.
By UCR Athletics
Carolinh Calvert, Collette Lowengrub, and Linda Perez were three of the more than 700 student-athletes who competed in the 40th annual University of California, Riverside Invitational, the first of two cross-country events hosted by the Highlanders as events returned to campus post-pandemic. The meet was on the sprawling Agricultural Operations course, weaving through groves of citrus trees. The women’s team finished fifth out of 22 teams with 166 points in the 6K and the men finished ninth out of 24 teams with 287 points in the 8K. The women’s team was led by Linda Perez, a freshman who finished 20th overall with a time of 21.03.3. Shortly after her came freshman Collette Lowengrub, who crossed the finish line at 21.10.3, just ahead of freshman Carolinh Calvert, who finished at 21.10.9. All three earned spots in the UCR Athletics’ all-time top 25. Below, the student-athletes share their experiences competing and being part of the team.
I was super thrilled for the race, my first home cross-country meet at UCR. The race itself, in my opinion, couldn’t have gone much better. My goal this season was to run 21:30 by conference, but running 21:10 that early on and still not feeling 100% in shape was pretty encouraging. It definitely left me hungry for the next race to hopefully run faster.
This team is so inspiring, supportive, and competitive. We all work together really well. Even though running is naturally very competitive, our friendly competition on the team only makes us better and in turn, we train together to grow stronger against other teams. My teammates are just those kind of people you can never get enough of. We’re serious and motivated when the time calls, but we’re also a really fun group. We always check up on one another and keep a loving and positive environment. In addition, our coaches are outstanding. They both push us to limits farther than we can see ourselves. They truly care about every one of us, and motivate us according to our personal needs. I couldn’t ask for a better team.
We’ve trained a lot on the course already, so I think I had a pretty good idea of where to hold back, where to speed up, and when to kick. As a freshman, the 6K is very new to me since in high school we would mostly run the 3-mile or occasionally the 5K. But I was able to race 16 seconds faster than my previous 6K time the week before.
My teammates and coaches are amazing. They push me every day and constantly keep me on my toes. Our top group of girls runs almost every workout together, and since we’re all very close in speed, we push each other at each workout and are able to work off each other to get better.
Before the race I had taken two days off of running because my hip had been hurting really bad for a couple of weeks, so I backed off for a while and that made me really nervous. I didn’t think I would be ready. During the race I felt those two days off, but I was surprised because I was still able to keep up with some of the girls. After the race I was tired and had to ice my injuries, but I was glad to have finished and even more excited to get better for the upcoming races.
This team has been not only supportive and welcoming, but they have also been competitive during workouts, which benefits us all overall. A lot of us have different areas in which we are strongest. Some of us thrive more in sprint-focused reps, mile reps, or long runs, so no matter what we’re running, if you’re not great at sprinting, you’ll have someone else who is pushing you to be better. The coaches have also been very supportive.