by Akira Tachikawa
The Men’s Cross Country team has had solid performances all season long, and finished the season in fourth at the Landmark Conference Championships held at Kings Point, New York.
Due to the Bucknell Invite being cancelled on Sep. 4, the Saint Vincent Invite was the first meet of the season on Sep. 19. The team placed eighth overall, with a team time of 2:24:08.9. On Sep. 26, at the Lock Haven Invite, the team placed 12th but was able to lower their team time to 2:17:06.55. On Oct. 10, at the Slippery Rock invite, the team placed seventh with a team time of 2:27.07.7. Finally, on Oct. 17, at the Lafayette Leopard Invitational, Juniata placed second2nd place in the Division 2 and 3 bracket with a team time of 2:21:39.28. At the Landmark Conference Championships on Oct. 31st, the team finished in fourth place with a team time of 2:22:00.
Although the cancelled Bucknell Invite hurt the team at the beginning of the season, they quickly overcame the setback at their next invite.
“One of the reasons why we have that race (Bucknell Invite) is to use it as a precursor for the season and see where we stand after our summer training,” said junior Kent Zelesky. “It’s also a way for the freshman to get a taste of what college running is going to be like.”
“I think the season definitely started off rough in the beginning, but we are finally starting to pack up better, which means we are scoring better, and it makes us an all around more cohesive team,” said freshman runner Evan Macmullin.
The team was projected to be third place in Landmark Conference, so their goal was to finish in second place, and also try to beat their rival Susquehanna University.
It took us some time to establish it, but I feel like there is a really strong connection between the team members, and it shows in the races,” said Zelesky. “We could really see our pack strategy and our ability to hold each other accountable at the last meet, so I think we have met our goal to a degree already.”
Looking ahead to next season, the team is looking to come mentally prepared in addition to being physically ready to compete.
“We definitely need to work on getting more mentally tough; w. We need to stop getting psyched out; w. We need to stay mentally tough and just run,” said Macmullin.
The team will enter the offseason with optimism about next fall. The general feeling is that they have areas to get better, but once they do this the potential for a successful season is great.
“Sometimes we have to be more consistent on some of the miles we run. T, there are some miles where we let time slip away, and it’s not something we can afford this late into the season,” said Zelesky. “If we work as a group more and keep each other mentally in it, and be a little more stronger when we feel pain, we’ll be on our way to success in no time.”
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 3 Sports