In catching up with the cross country team's this notebook looks at the men's championship weekend, key runners returning, Cotton breaks out and coach Bill Schnier outlines the path to improvement.
By Ashley Davis
Special to GoBearcats.com
The Bearcats men's cross-country team defended their All-Ohio championship title at Cedarville University on Saturday.
On paper the team was expected to finish fifth, but head coach Bill Schnier was confident they could do better than that.
"Our hopes are high to move up and just see how high we get," Schnier said Thursday before the race.
Colin Cotton was the top finisher for the 8K race, finishing in third place with a time of 24:40.02.
The women's team finished fifth, the same place as last year. This was an improvement, as they were predicted to finish seventh.
Emily Clay was the top finisher for the 5K race with an eighth place individual finish in a time of 18:16.42.
Returning Runners: Aside from trying to defend the All-Ohio championship at Cedarville University, Schnier was also looking forward to seeing two new runners race for both the men's and women's cross-country team. Both are not new to the team, but competed Saturday for the first time this season.
Evan Baum, a junior architecture student, has been co-oping in New York City.
"He's not been with us since August, but he's been doing good training on his own," Schnier said.
Baum finished 25th overall with a time of 25:22.57 in the men's 8K race.
Alison Zukowski was the women's team MVP last year, but has been injured the first month of the season.
"She hasn't run in any meets the whole year, but she plans to make this her first meet, so she's looking forward to that," Schnier said.
Zukowski finished 32nd with a time of 18:50.17 in the women's 5K race.
Breakout Runners: The Bearcats may have some young runners on the team this year, but they are showing promise in either their first or second year running on a college team.
Cotton, a sophomore transfer student from Williams College, has been a pleasant surprise, according to Schnier. Cotton leads the team so far this season with three third-place finishes and a 13th-place finish at the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic.
Ian Silver, a freshman who competed in a run-off just to make the team, also has started strong.
"This last meet he was our fifth man, so he's really done quite well," Schnier said.
On the women's team, sophomore Emily Clay has became the top runner after being second on the team last year and Anne Pace has been the top freshman runner, finishing second, second and third for UC in the last three races.
"It's a little hard to say a freshman broke out, but she really did because she's running so much better than she did last year in high school,," Schnier said.
Room for Improvement: With championship races ahead in October, Schnier feels the team could improve in three areas. The first is to think bigger.
"We're actually doing that, so I'm feeling pretty good about that," Schnier said.
Second on his list for improvement is to have his runners run in larger packs.
"Sometimes you run in pairs or groups of three, so I'm looking for more than just that," he said.
Finally, he wants them to be able to understand their pace because in distance running, pace is at a premium.
"We're pretty close to getting that right," Schnier said. "If we get it right, it's all going to work."