The MVNU men’s and women’s cross country teams are starting the 2016 season with an emphasis on hard work and focus.
“If we can remain focused on our individual and team goals, encourage and pray for each other constantly and prioritize the way we need to, this will be a very successful season,” coach Chip Wilson said.
Wilson credits time management and the proper approach to each workout as “the keys to success.”
This season’s roster will feature two incoming freshmen for the men’s team and five for the women’s team along with one transfer. The newcomers are Austin Dotson, Pablo Salinas, Brooklyn Duewel and Isabelle DiTulliuo, each of whom has the talent to make an immediate impact for the Cougars, Wilson said.
The men graduated three well-known seniors last year: Ben Nielson, Ellis Gallion and Josh Richardson.
Richardson was a standout throughout his career at MVNU, who holds the school record time of 25:16.3 in cross country, set at the Wilmington (Ohio) College Classic last fall.
“One of the biggest keys to our success this season will be how we adapt to losing some seniors who were a big part of our program last year,” senior Jake Sherer said.
Though the incoming freshmen have the opportunity to immediately boost the Cougars, Wilson ultimately looks to the senior team captains — Sherer, Simon Taylor and Jessi Habeggar — to lead the team.
“We will have great leadership again this season,” Wilson said.
The Cougars kicked off the 2016 season at the Kenyon College Tri-Meet last week. Senior Annie Winkler led the women’s team with a seventh-place finish out of 55 runners. Senior Rebekah Mullins was close behind with a ninth-place finish.
The men’s team also had two top 10 finishers. Sophomore Brennan Crawford clinched second and sophomore DeAndre Steward took second.
Both teams will hit the course again today at the Indiana Wesleyan University Twilight Classic.