The men’s and women’s Varsity Cross Country teams finished preseason with a positive attitude, as they prepare to host the Patriot League Championships this year on October 30 – 31.
While the Raiders finished last year’s championships with a lesser title than they had hoped, the women’s team in 9th place and the men’s team in 8th, they expect this season to be a turnaround.
“The beauty in all of that is that we can go nowhere but up, so that’s the goal, to surprise a lot of folks,” Head Coach Arthur McKinnon said. “We’re optimistic with the way they’re training and with the changes we’re making.”
The women’s team was picked for 10th place this year and the men’s team at 8th. McKinnon’s main goal is to surpass Holy Cross, which is the closest school above them in the rankings.
Because the women’s team has gained five incoming first-years, sophomore Tina Bowers remains hopeful that this season will go differently.
“This year’s team is definitely different from last year, in a good way,” Bowers said. “We graduated two seniors from our top seven, but we’ve doubled our numbers with our incoming freshman class.”
Last year, both the women’s and men’s team struggled with remaining healthy. According to Bowers, almost everyone who was injured last season is back and ready to run.
“I’m excited for this year because I think we can do a lot better than the rankings say we can,” Bowers said. “I have a lot of confidence in the potential for this year’s team.”
The men’s team has gained one first-year and lost two seniors who ran in the top five on the team. According to Coach McKinnon, they expect the top five runners to be a few of the more developed athletes, including team leaders and seniors Christopher Noda and Cody Hawkins.
Noda said he remains positive regarding this year’s season, mostly due to the team’s exceptional work ethic and the lessons they have learned during the offseason.
“I believe the team this year is stronger than last year’s. The mentality of the group is really supportive,” Noda said. “We all care about each other and we are all optimistic about our opportunities in the Patriot League.”
Noda also said that their top two runners are back this season, along with four others who are close behind.
Both teams’ next meet will be held next weekend on September 5 at the Harry