The UAFS women's cross country team begin preparation for the upcoming season.

The UAFS women’s cross country team is getting an early start to its preseason workouts, literally.

The Lady Lions began their preseason regimen on Wednesday with the first of their daily 6 a.m. workouts. The team will have morning workouts each day and also will have a group night run as well on alternating days.

In addition, they will have a weight-training workout three days a week, too.

First-year coach Chanlee Bottoms said she has been pleased with how well the first workouts have gone.

“I love this team. As far as their chemistry, they all get along, and they love one another,” Bottoms said. “When we’re talking about winning and trying to establish that winning culture, chemistry is the biggest thing. We’ve talked about not running far apart, especially in practice, to try to develop that speed we want to run at as a group. So far, they are doing that and holding each other accountable.”

Three runners return from last season’s team that finished eighth in the Heartland Conference Meet – junior Krysten Fagan from Acorn, Ark., sophomore Claire Burnsed from Sallisaw, Okla., and sophomore Madison Trees from Houston, Texas.

“Krysten and Madison are really stepping up as leaders and showing the new runners the ropes,” Bottoms said.

The Lady Lions have three newcomers on their current roster – freshman Carmen Hedstrom from Bentonville, Ark., freshman Cheyenne Lyons from Greenland, Ark., and freshman Kaylie McVoy from Sugar Land, Texas.

“Carmen and Kaylie are running extremely well. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do as far as running,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms said she expects two or three runners to walk-on once the fall semester begins on Monday.

The Lady Lions will compete in four regular season meets this season – the Central Oklahoma Land Run (Sept. 3) in Edmond, Okla., the Missouri Southern State Stampede (Sept. 17) in Joplin, Mo., the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival (Oct. 1) in Fayetteville, Ark., and the University of the Ozarks Invitational (Oct. 8) in Clarksville, Ark.

UAFS also will compete in the Heartland Conference Meet (Oct. 22) in Mansfield, Texas.