A willingness to learn and improve has defined Ali Dokus’s career as a member of Emerson’s cross country team.
According to John Furey, the head coach for men’s and women’s cross country, this characteristic has helped her develop into the leader and star runner of the team.
The top New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference, or NEWMAC, runners have times ranging from 18 to 19.5 minutes. Furey showed confidence that the senior will be a part of that top tier of runners by the end of this season.
Furey’s expectations for Dokus this season are high, but attainable for the talented athlete.
“She is the fittest she has ever been,” said Furey. “I could tell in the first few practices that she was ready.”
“I do not expect to win more races,” she said, “I only expect to [cut] my time.”
Over the past three years at Emerson, Dokus’s times have steadily improved. As a freshman and sophomore the writing, literature, and publishing major consistently finished the 5k races with times ranging from 20 to 21 minutes, repeatedly finishing amongst the top runners.
In her first race as a junior, the Mass Maritime Invitational, Dokus started out with a great lead, but took a wrong turn.
Even with the mishap, she finished eighth. This setback prompted Furey and Dokus to develop a strategy of staying with the front pack in order to avoid another fiasco.
The next race Dokus finished the Daniel Webster Invitational in first place with a time of 20 minutes and 35 seconds. This was her first collegiate win.
It did not come as a shock to her coach or teammates as she always works hard at practice and on her own.
“She is a hard worker and trains in the offseason, which is huge for her success,” said Furey, who credited her impressive career arc to her tremendous consistency and her good fortune in avoiding any major injuries.
On Sept. 6, the first race of her senior year, Dokus led the Lions to a second place finish at the Annual Travis Fuller Invitational. Her time of 19 minutes 33 seconds was fast enough to earn her first place in the 5k race.
This was her fastest time to date. She was still not satisfied, however. With her determination and consistently improving times, Furey does not doubt she will achieve a 19 minute 5k race.
To Dokus cross country is not just a sport. She plans on continuing to run after college for the feeling of relaxation it brings her. She hopes to run marathons in the future and has the ultimate goal of participating in the Boston Marathon.
“If I don’t run, I feel off,” Dokus said.