Men’s cross country ready for a new season

Men’s cross country is ready for another season with its first race at the St. Francis Invitational on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.

During the 2016-2017 season, the team competed in many meets, including the Northwest Classic at Westville, where the team placed second, and The Bethel Invitational, where the team placed 11th. Runner Sal Cordova competed in the NAIA Championships, where he placed 149th and finished with a time of 26:19.

This season’s roster sees more runners gained then lost. Several newcomers have joined the team, and the coach has high hopes.

“Despite losing Alex Cordova, we really boosted our numbers and have a handful of newcomers who are in great shape and have a legitimate chance of being in our top five this season,” said head coach Austin Warner, who leads the team with Assistant Coach Rose Howell and Student Assistant Cordova.

Some of the runners who are fighting for a place in the varsity roster include Adam Joseph, Cristian Zendejas, Ozzy Gonzalez and Ruben Gonzalez.

This season, the team will be entering the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“This conference is more competitive than many smaller NCAA Division I conferences, so the level of competition our team will face this year will be a huge jump forward,” Warner said.

According to Warner, a similar challenge to entering GLIAC will be training the incoming freshman to run the 8k. The newcomers are used to running 5k, which is the distance for most high school races.

“What we have to improve on is probably our youth,” Warner said. “It will take some time to learn how to run that distance well, but we are confident that their skills will improve over time. We are working on improving as a team each week, and if we continue to do so we will hit our goals this season.”

Warner said he believes the team will do well in competition at the higher level this season.

“We will certainly finish much higher in the conference standings than anticipated…we are excited for this new challenge and new level of competition. It will bring out the best in each and every one of our guys for now and for years to come.”