Men’s cross country ranks nationally

 

The men’s cross country team finished 2nd overall in the GLIAC cross country championship last year. They look forward to their first eligible year and hope to qualify to the national championship meet in late November. (Photo courtesy of Bo Trusty)

Pioneer men’s cross country team has always been one to pay attention to in our athletic department, and it is no different this year; the team has been nationally ranked before even stepping on the course.

From a preseason poll, the Pioneers ranked 19th overall in the nation, which is the first team to be ranked for Pioneer athletics on the national level for NCAA Division II.

Led by seniors, the team is looking sharp heading into the season.

“So far the team is looking great,” senior runner Jarod Williams said. “I would say overall the best team that I’ve seen since I’ve been at Malone. Everyone put in the work and stayed dedicated to the plan during summer training.”

Coming off a strong summer, the men are looking forward to participating in the GLIAC and possibly nationals. But ranking 19th in the nation during a preseason poll isn’t entirely the focus for Pioneer cross country.

“Being ranked 19th in the preseason rankings just means that we will be flying under the radar until people realize what we are capable of,” Williams said. “No one will expect us to perform how we will.”

Focusing less on the rankings and more on performing, the men’s cross country team hopes to place even higher than the team was predicted.

“It’s a long season, so we have lots of time to prove how good we actually are,” senior runner Nick Fresenko said. “I also think this means we are in a good position to surprise some people this year.”

Reaching nationals is the main focus and goal for the runners.

“We peak for the end of the year and we don’t plan on running our fastest times until nationals,” said Fresenko. “I expect good things from our group this year.”

Head cross country coach Jack Hazen also had a few words to say about the men this season.

“The seniors have not only stepped up their physical training this preseason, but they have also taken upon themselves to rally and motivate their teams,” Hazen said. “This synergy is palpable and the confidence on the team is overwhelmingly obvious.”

Times will continue to improve over the long hall of the season and expectations for the team will be high with runners like Williams and Fresenko.

But there is not just one runner who stands out.  Instead, the team has seven potential runners who could finish first at any meet they run in.

The cross country team will race again on September 20 at home at 6 p.m.

 

  Justin Davis is a sports writer for The Aviso AVW. 

 

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