The men’s cross-country team has started its season with an attempt at making this year better than the last; practices have been demanding with a particularly talented team that is expected to perform royally this season.
Runners feel the amount of experience that returning runners possess is the largest strength of the team this season.
“This year is very different compared to previous years simply due to the depth our team now possesses,” said senior Ben Jurence. “Five of our top seven runners from last year have returned in excellent form.”
Jurence also commented that a pair of “stud freshman” have shown promise in filling two empty pairs of cleats competing for the top seven runner positions.
Head coach Brett Witt backed the idea of a stellar season. “On the men’s side we feel we have the best team since the 2010 team finished sixth at the National Championships,” he said. “So a bid to Nationals is the top priority with the hope for a high finish at the meet as well.”
Senior Neil Pedersen is also encouraging the notion for a shot at Nationals. “Personally, I want us to make it to the National Championships as a team and to run well enough there to finish in the top 10, at least,” Pedersen said when asked about season goals.
This season, both men’s and women’s cross-country are comprised mostly of underclassmen. “We have a great deal of youth on both teams. Freshmen and sophomores dominate both rosters,” said Witt.
With a large amount of youth on the team, working towards a great season means, “young runners need to grow up quickly and help contribute to our success this fall,” said Witt.
The team is looking forward to competing at a meet at Notre Dame in late September. Typically, the meet has displayed impressive competition in previous years and the team is preparing to see some of that competition again at nationals.