Paul Short has always been a checkpoint for us to see where we’re at and if we need to make any adjustments in the middle of the season either with respect to training, or racing strategies and this year was no different. Our goal for the men was to get five under 27:00 (16:52 pace). Although we only got three to break it, we proved to ourselves how attainable that target is.
Greg and Devon ran in the top 15 pack much of the race and finished about the same, setting lifetime bests in the process of 26:13 and 26:31. Gavin has been steadily ascending throughout the season and was our 3rd runner to get under 27, running mid 26:40s. After that, as I said above these races are about learning. We have a tight pack in workouts with Justin Beasley Turner, Peter Milewski, Peter Gingrich, and Franklin Musnuff, who run with those front three, we just learned a few racing strategies to utilize in our next meet that we feel confident will be the key to getting five under that barrier. The other thing we were really pleased with was every single runner broke 30:00 (6:00 /mile), something we haven’t done at a mid-season invite in all my seven years here. We have some really strong depth right now!
Our goals this year are to be in the mix to win conferences and finish top 10 in our region. For a young team with no seniors, that’s a great accomplishment to strive for, and a nice building block heading forward. It’ll take five under 27:00 to achieve these goals, but I’m confident we’re capable of it. We just had an incredible hill workout at the “Dog Park” yesterday so we’re getting in all the prep necessary for some challenging courses later in the season. We have a highly motivated, hard-working, tight pack right now and if we can stay healthy, I know we can have an exciting last half of our season.
Andrew Mitchell leading our front pack on the “race pace” portion of our hill repeats. A beagle is cheering them along at the Dog Park
Aaron Hofmann, Josh Toth, and Devon Fogel finishing another interval on the Dog Park loop.
Men's 2017 Preview - August 27, 2017
The first week is already in the books for the 2017 XC season. The parents kicked things off with a welcome dinner on Saturday, we got in a nice run at Jacobsburg State Park on Sunday, and Monday was our annual time trial under the lights. On Tuesday we started the first ever XC Dodgeball Tournament, Wednesday and Thursday we took our annual trip to Jim Thorpe and did some whitewater rafting for the first time ever, and then we wrapped up the week on Saturday with our alumni XC race. Thanks to all alums who came, and we hope to see even more next year. Mark your calendars for the AUGUST 25th, 2018!!!
As far as the team, the mile time trial showed some very encouraging results. Devon and Greg really stood out negative splitting 4:22 and :23 respectively, excellent times off pure base training. Two of our freshmen, Peter and Franklin, also showed a lot of promise running in the mid 4:30s which was a PR for Franklin, and close to it for Peter. Since then Ben, Justin, and Gavin are just a few of the athletes who have stepped up in our tempo workouts and are looking vastly improved from 12 months ago. This year’s team has as much depth as we’ve had at Moravian in my time here, and most importantly the collective focus and motivation is as good as I’ve seen here.
We’re holding ourselves to a very high standard this year, I truly feel we can get at least five runners under 27:00 this fall, and possibly even a few under 26:00. With only one graduating senior, this bodes well for a promising future as well and what could be a big resurgence for Moravian’s men’s distance/XC squads! We start off in a few days over at Lehigh on Friday, September 1st with a 6k at 5:30pm.
Men's 2016 Recap - January 4, 2017
The 2016 Cross Country season was a successful one for the Greyhounds. Going into this year we were loaded with youth so we anticipated some growing pains. Nearly half of our roster was freshmen so there were adjustments to the longer racing distances, life in college, and a change in training styles.
Despite that, we accomplished a lot of great things. On the men's side we had seven athletes break the 28:00 barrier. Five of them will be returning next fall and only two of them will be juniors next year so the future is very bright. There hasn't been this much enthusiasm for cross country in our men's program since I've been here and with some good talent coming in next fall to supplement the roster, there is a lot to look forward to in the future with the program. One of our main goals next year will be to get our top five under 27:00 and a couple to flirt with 26:00. If we can do that, we'll be able to be in contention for a top 10 spot in the Region. Considering the slowest of our top five returners ran 27:15 last year, I think this is a very realistic goal.
On the women's side we had five athletes crack the 24:00 barrier including Meg Brockett who set the new school record at 21:06. Both she and Sarah went 1-2 at Landmarks, 2nd and 12th at Regionals, and then 35th and 112th at the NCAAs in Louisville. It was Moravian's first women's XC All American since 2001, and the most women we've sent to NCAAs since that time as well. The young 'Hounds are looking great, most notably the trio of Katie Mayer, Carly Danoski, and Ashley Mayer. Katie was only three places from going to NCAAs as a freshman, and both Carly and Ashley broke the 24:00 barrier so that's an incredible trio to build around for the next four years.
This is a tight knit group as you can see in the picture below who are all eager to work. They'll be a great representative of the program for years to come.
Men's 2016 Preview - September 4, 2016
Going into the season we knew this team would be young, and with youth comes inexperience and the unknown. For the men in particular, it’s difficult to project how runners will adapt to the added 3k from what they’re accustomed to in high school. That certainly applies to this year.
With that said, we’ve been off to a tremendous start. We had our mile time trial about two weeks ago and had seven runners at or below 4:46, the deepest we’ve been in my time at Moravian. That’s even without Greg Jaindl and Brodie Skrocki running, two athletes who will likely play a key role in the season. Workouts have continued to shine and the prevailing theme is pack running that is stronger now than it has ever been in my time here.
Our first meet at Lehigh went better than expected. The main goal was to get our front pack to run the equivalent of a 27:00 8k pace for the 6k distance. Our front group did just that and it appears they have a real shot of getting five to flirt with the elusive 27:00 barrier by the time we reach Paul Short in about a month. It’s the next big bench mark we’re aiming for, and if we can achieve that, it’ll set us up well for the rest of the season.
Thus far, this group has had one of the best attitudes and work ethics I’ve had in my 11 years of coaching. The talent is there as well and as I’ve been preaching to the team, if they can continue like this, I don’t even know how good this group can be over the next few years. There are big things on the horizon!
Men Open Strong at Lehigh Invitational - September 4, 2014
On Friday we got started with our cross country season at Lehigh with a 6k race. It’s a good way to shake off the rust, get some of the nerves out of the way, and for the freshmen to transition from the 5k in high school towards the 8k we need to be racing this year.
Dillon is in as good of shape as ever, and last night he showed that with a victory against some good competition. Our objective going in was to average mid 4:50 miles to set himself up for the pace we want to sustain over 8k later on, and he did just that. He and alum Matt Lutcza wound up leading much of the last mile before being pushed by a Lehigh runner, but Dillon ended up pulling out a nice kick at the end to pull off the victory.
Alec, Jeremy, and Cory all had good openers with each of them running their fastest times ever on the 6k course. Some of the early workouts suggested they came into the season in great shape, and the race on Friday just confirmed that they’re ready to make big improvements from 2013.
As is always the case, the adjustment from 5k to 8k is a challenge for freshmen, so Friday was a good segue for the new ‘Hounds. Josh Toth may not have a lot of leg speed, but the 8k seems tailored to his talents, and I’m confident he’ll adjust well to the longer distance over the coming months. He opened with a time in the low 21:00s, but he’ll be running significantly better by November. Robby Cahill and Austin Stetler have a little more foot speed than Josh, but both also appear to be capable of handling the longer distance on grass. They both also had strong openers in the low to mid 21:00s and I think all three could be in the 27:00s as we approach the end of the season. Fellow freshman Mike Kopach is more of a true middle distance runner who may take some time to be able to effectively race an 8k, but he ran better than expected in his 6k debut last night, running close to his 5k race pace from high school last year.
Max has had some back issues that have hampered his training a little bit the past few weeks, but the treatments have been working, and I expect him to bounce back and also approach the 27:00s as we near Conference. Zimra Winters and Corey Schauerman didn’t get in a lot of training over the summer, so I expect to see both make huge drops in time throughout the year, likely sustaining their 6k pace from last night over 8k very soon.
Overall it was a good first meet for us. We’ll take a break from racing to really focus on training the next few weeks. We may run a few athletes at an 8k over at Muhlenberg in about two weeks so the freshmen can acclimate to the 8k. However, pretty much everyone will be back in action on Sept 20th at Dickinson.
Cross Country Ready to Run in 2014 - August 28, 2014
We’re about 1.5 weeks into the season and are now getting ready for our first meet this afternoon across town at Lehigh. We already hosted our alumni meet, preseason camp in Jim Thorpe, and are starting to settle into the usual weekly routine now that classes have started.
I’ve always used a mile time trial under the lights as a barometer to see where the team’s fitness is at. A mile on a track is clearly not the same as 8k on grass, however, we ran much faster than 12 months ago. Last year our #3 runner ran a 4:52 mile, and on Monday we had six runners at 4:45 or faster. Dillon led the way breaking 4:20, and Alec improved over 15 seconds on what he ran this time last year. Three of those runners under 4:45 were freshmen, which is clearly an encouraging sign.
Dillon and Alec will lead the way for us this year, and Jeremy Rigotti, Max Korten, and Cory Taggert are all in much better shape than they were 12 months ago. As I alluded to above, we have a core of freshmen that are already performing better than our #3 runner was at this point last year so there are some very positive early signs. Ultimately, the success of this year’s team will depend on how our younger runners develop. Some of them have stronger track credentials, most notably Mike Kopach who has run 1:57 and is a former District 11 Champ, and Austin Stetler who has also run 1:57 and 4:25
but we’ll have to see how they adapt to the 8k. Josh Toth and Robby Cahill are two other freshmen who I expect will be able to make the transition up in distance by November. As long as we can stay healthy and focused, we should be able to have a significantly better finish to 2014 than we did in 2013. Dillon should have a shot at contending for All American honors in November, and as a team I think we have the potential to contend for top 3 in a much improved conference. It all starts tonight at Lehigh at 5:30pm so feel free to come out and cheer on the 2014 Hounds.
At the cabins for preseason camp
Cross Country Set to Begin 2013 Season - August 29, 2013
About a week ago, the team came back to campus, and we’ve already spent a few days in Jim Thorpe running/hiking/canoeing, in addition to going on some new runs in the Lehigh Valley. However, classes just started on Monday so we’ve moved on from preseason and are back to the usual routine, which for me has always begun with a mile time trial on the track. Although it’s certainly not the perfect indicator of cross country success, especially since it’s only 20% of the cross country racing distance, it’s a good way to compare year to year progress of individuals, and our team as a whole.
On Monday we ran our 1600 time trial under the lights and had some good signs. Dillon Farrell is clearly in the best shape of his life, and the 4:24 mile he ran was a good indicator of this. One of our freshmen ran 4:30, and both Jeremy Rigotti and Alec Duncan ran the fastest times they’ve ever run for this “fitness test.” The biggest issue we have this year is how quickly some young runners will adapt to the 8k distance. We already had some minor setbacks with a sprained ankle and some off time due to a mission trip for two of our freshmen. However, the potential for these newcomers to approach, if not break 27:00 for 8k is there, it’s just a matter of how quickly they can bounce back from some hiccups, and how soon they can adapt to a new racing distance. We’re starting off with a 6k at 10:00am on Saturday over at Lehigh and if you have some time this Saturday morning, I encourage you to come out and cheer on the ‘Hounds.
Cross Country Alumni 2013 - August 27, 2013
Over the weekend we had the second annual alumni CC event at Monocacy Park. Although it was a little on the warm side, the weather otherwise cooperated making for an enjoyable evening. We had about 30 alums, current athletes, and even dogs complete the race (results pictured below) along with a number of other alums who cheered everyone on during the 2 mile race through Monocacy Park. We followed that up with a children’s race of about 400 meters, and the pictures for both of these races can be seen on our Moravian XC TrackandField facebook page.
We then had a cookout down near the waterfall along Monocacy Creek and later relocated to Bob Thear’s house. It was a great time for me as I got to hear some stories of a few athletes and teams narrowly missing XC NCAAs in the late ‘90s, some of the tough runs up South Mountain that Coach Webs used to start the season off with, and Emily Shertzer brought back some great newspaper articles highlighting the 2001 women’s team that ended up finishing 3rd at NCAAs. When I was still a junior at UW-Stevens Point I remembered watching the women race at Augustana with Heidi finishing second to Dana Boyle and the women placing 3rd on an unseasonably warm day for November in Illinois – little did I know that I’d be working for the ‘Hounds 10 years later! It’s great to hear the old stories, not only about racing, but also the good times everyone had when they were here at Moravian, so I strongly encourage people to continue to attend these events so that you too can reminisce and reconnect with friends and teammates.
Next year we’re hoping to have the same event on the same weekend, we’ll just try to host the events on Saturday rather than on Friday. Mark your calendars now for August 23rd, 2014, we’d love to see you all again for the 3rd annual CC alumni event!
From time to time, Director of Cross Country Jesse Baumann will give an update on the program.