Current cross country teams thrive against alumni

Story by Alex Zank, Chief Copy Editor

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The Blugold cross country team kicked off the season – which is shaping up to be a promising one, players say – with an alumni event on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Cross country starts off every season with an alumni meet like this one, senior runner Conor Rafferty said.

“Our team competes with the alumni that graduated from the program (in this meet),” Rafferty said.

“It is this big event where it’s the alumni versus the team, to see if (the alumni) can beat the team.”

The current team managed to overcome their elder rivals with an outcome of the first 10 runners to finish all being Blugolds.

The alumni event is a transitional event of sorts for the new runners as well as a “warm up” for the rest of the season, cross country coach Daniel Schwamberger said.

Looking toward the rest of the 2012 season, senior Aaron Easker is very optimistic that the men’s team will go far for several reasons, one of these reasons being the large number of returning players.

The men’s team has six of their top seven players from last year back for another season, and this should give them an edge over the competition. A lot of the teams in conference lost a lot of top from last year, Easker said.

Rafferty has high hopes for a lot of the newer players as well, judging by a promising time trial with the team.

“I was really impressed with the results (of the trial),” Rafferty said. “We all had a really big pack of runners; usually it’s spread out … but this year we’re really deep as a team, everyone was packed up in a group, which is better for when we get to real races so we can work together.”

Cross country coach Daniel Schwamberger said not only are the men’s team in good shape, but the women’s team looks promising as well, pointing to their history of success.

The women’s team has won conference the past five years in a row, Schwamberger said, adding that they also won nationals in 2009, fourth four nationals in 2010 but last year placed 17.

“It’s cool this year because on the women’s side we’ve got a bit of a younger team, and the past four or five years there’s been that pressure … everyone had a target on our back  … going into this year it’s nice because that target isn’t on our back as much,” Schwamberger said.

Easker said that the Blugolds have the hardest regional in all of Division-3, so he hopes the presence of the veterans as well as strong newcomers should give them an edge over other teams.

“We did have a team goal meeting at the beginning of the year,” Rafferty said. “One of them was to either win conference or be in top two … and it’s definitely possible this year.”
Another goal was to go to nationals, Rafferty said.

 

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