Men’s cross country squad hoping for improvement

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Tomorrow affords BG men’s cross country team an opportunity to make a statement.

This season members of the team feels it is flying under the radar entering tomorrow’s 8K MAC Championships, hoping to surprise some teams with a respectable finish after a last-place finish last season. The meet is at Ohio University and the men’s race begins at 11 a.m.

This season all returning Falcons improved their times from last year’s season opener against Toledo. In the Mel Brodt Invitational, Chris Moody improved his time by nearly three minutes, and Peter Miles shaved exactly four minutes from his times last season. And the team improved to 15th place overall this season at the All-Ohio Championships, compared to 27th a year ago.

While that improvement has been made, the ultimate measure of how much the team has improved will take place tomorrow, and coach Cami Wells believes the hard work the team has put in will put the team in position to improve on its last-place finish in 2008.

‘I want the men to go out there this year and show that they’re an improved team, and for them to perform the way they’ve been trained to perform,’ Wells said. ‘We have a lot of doubters as far as what we can do in the conference, but we’ve been working very hard to be a better team this year.’

The team has been led by junior Chris Moody in every race both this season and last.

‘I definitely want to finish much higher than last year. I’m going to try to go for another [personal record],’ Moody said. ‘I want us to finish higher than we did last year. It’d be great if everyone went out there and [set personal records].

‘[A better finish] will mean that we ended on a positive note and we improved from last year, which is a good stepping stone for next year.’

Running in his first MAC Championships, freshman Jason Salyer is prepared to help BG make that improvement.

‘I’m nervous. If you’re not nervous, you don’t care. I think I’m prepared though,’ he said. ‘I want an overall improvement from last year, whether that means beating a team or being closer to that.’

Not wanting to limit himself, Salyer isn’t making any personal goals entering the race.

‘Goals are good thing to set, but I think goals can sometimes limit what you do, so I have no goals,’ he said.

Wells knows that improving on last year’s finish will take a team effort with everyone fighting the entire race.

‘The key is to stay relaxed, be focused on that day and what they need to get done, and fight hard and be consistent all the way through the race,’ she said. ‘It’s really important to maintain their pace throughout to put themselves in a good position at the beginning but not get overly excited and then maintain that and keep fighting the whole way.’

The Falcons are coming off of a disappointing 11th-place finish at the Falcon Invite two weeks ago, but enter the race tomorrow with the experience of knowing what it takes in order to prevent a finish like that one.

‘It was just a reminder that each week is a different race, and that they have to be ready each time,’ Wells said. ‘If anyone has an off day, it affects the whole team.

‘The only pressure is the pressure they put on themselves. Certainly they want to prove that they’re an improved team and show that they belong out there against the rest of the teams.’

Jesse Smuda, Johnstone Kirui, Ben Leininger, Abraham Buseinei, Peter Miles and John Bernard will be the other Falcons to compete for BG tomorrow.