Cross Country |
Aug. 25, 2012
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men's and women's cross country teams are set to begin their season in the University of Dayton's Flyer 5k Challenge on September 1, according to the schedule released by head coach Bill Schnier and Susan Seaton.
The Bearcats will have a busy month of September, participating in four meets. After opening in the Flyer 5k Challenge, they'll run locally in the annual Queen City Invitational on September 7. They'll compete in Vanderbilt University's Commodore Classic on September 15 before the All-Ohio Championships in Cedarville on September 29.
They'll complete twice in October, first at the Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, the site of this year's NCAA national championships. The course will be familiar to the Bearcats after hosting the BIG EAST Conference championships last season. Their second October meet will be the conference championships, hosted this year in the Bronx, N.Y., on October 26. The NCAA Great Lakes Regional championship will be held November 9 in Madison, Wisc., and the NCAA championship meets are slated for November 17.
The teams were in preseason camp this week, held this year at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. Hocking Hills in one of five sites that the teams rotate as sites for their preseason camps, the others being Greenbrier Youth Camp in Frankford, W.Va.; Brown Country State Park near Nashville, Ind.; Camp Wesley near Bellefontaine, Ohio; and Canter's Cave 4-H Camp hear Jackson, Ohio.
"We have five different places we go for camp so no one person will repeat his or her site during their time at UC," said Schnier. All are appealing to our student-athletes and provide a sense of UC cross country history as well as a way of marking time."
Schnier and Seaton were accompanied by 38 student-athletes - 20 on the men's team and 18 on the women's - plus staff members Kris Mack, Kevin Schwarz
and Eric Finan
. Finan completed last year what was likely the greatest cross country season since Ron Stapleton's standout 1972 season. Finan was the top individual finisher at four of five regular season meets (he was third at Pre-Nationals), then won the BIG EAST individual title. He was second at the NCAA Great Lakes Region championship and then capped the season by earning All-America honors, finishing 25th at the NCAA championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind. That was the best finish for UC cross country since Stapleton was 23rd in 1972.
At preseason camp, Schnier and Seaton have full days of training for their student-athletes. The morning runs are four to five miles long and they do another eight miles or more in the evenings. The days are spent in discussions on training and goals and there are team-building sessions as well. A highlight (or lowlight) of the camp is the annual talent show, which Schnier alternately described as "a lack-of-talent show".
The top returners on the men's side are senior Oliver Book, senior Chase Beckmann and junior Eric Hauser. Book was UC's No. 2 runner, behind Finan, in every meet last season. Colin Cotton, a transfer from Williams College and former Ohio state cross country champion from Cincinnati Summit Day High School, and freshman Andrew LeTourneau look to be the top newcomers, according to Schnier's pre-camp expectations.
"Our goal for the men's team is to be better this year than last despite the loss of (Finan)," Schnier said. "We realistically have 10-to-12 runners who can make a big difference. All are very excited at the prospect and looking forward to the upcoming season."
Alison Zukowski and Emily Clay were the top two runners on the women's team last year and both return. Cincinnatians Anne Pace, Maggie Bischoff and Sara Pierce look to be the top newcomers.
"I expect the women's team to make steady improvements and look for the returners to improve their times and placings from last year," said Seaton. "I look to the newcomers to challenge the returners, add depth and competitiveness. I hope we can improve our individual and team place at the BIG EAST championship meet from last year."