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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Freshman leading the way

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/28/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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SAN ANTONIO — Most freshmen student-athletes are content to avoid the limelight as they feel out their first semester away from home. In the case of Samantha Fish, she has stood out and made an immediate impact on the women’s cross country team this fall.

On a team that features just one junior, a sophomore and nine freshmen, the Los Fresnos native has been the first Roadrunner to cross the finish line in each of the squad’s last four meets and she should be a key contributor at Thursday’s Southland Conference Championships in Beaumont.

Fish has developed into the team’s top performer by doing things that were foreign to her when she arrived on campus in early August.

She helped the Los Fresnos Falcons win District 32-5A Championships in each of her final three seasons in the Rio Grande Valley, but she attributed most of that success to a team made up of individuals. Since arriving in the Alamo City, Fish has realized teamwork has taken her to the next level.

“Coach (Virginia) Coindreau stresses the importance of teamwork every day,” she said. “Our philosophy is to stay together as a team and not leave anyone behind. We’re like one big family. I wasn’t used to that when I got here because I did so much running by myself during high school.”

Her top overall finish of the season came at the Islanders Splash a month ago when she crossed the tape in 12th place. Since then, she has fared well against stiff competition at the Notre Dame Invitational and the University of Arkansas’ Chile Pepper Festival.

Heading into Thursday’s 6,000-meter race at Bayou Din Golf Club, Fish believes she is coming off her best race of the season at the Chile Pepper Festival and that the team is excited to get back on the course and try to better last year’s fourth-place performance, the program’s best in five years.

“We’re obviously going into the race wanting to finish as one of the top teams, but we want to make sure we finish within a minute of one another,” she said. “If we run in a pack and don’t get spaced out, then I think good things can happen.”

Head coach Virignia Coindreau has been impressed with Fish’s progress this fall.

"Samantha brings a lot to our team with her positive energy and incredible work ethic,” Coindreau said. "She has made an immediate impact on the team and been our top finisher for most of the season. She is a wonderful athlete and teammate to represent UTSA."

The keys to her race on Thursday are simple.

“As long as I relax and don’t overanalyze the race, I should do well,” Fish said. “I need to make sure I don’t start too fast or too slow and get plenty of rest the night before. Maybe, I’ll go to a movie and take my mind off it, but when it comes time to step up to the line, I’ll be ready to go.”

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