Falcon men’s cross country team comes third in MAC championships

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcon men’s cross country team came in third in the MAC championships, their best finish since the 1995 season, while the women’s cross country team came in ninth and is looking to improve next season.

“The goals were high coming into the season,” Falcons head coach Lou Snelling said. “There were some things that the guys had to deal with in terms of a coaching change and all that, I’m very proud of them in terms of working through that in a very focused and positive way.”

The high expectations before the season paid off on the men’s side, not just as a team but also with personal records as well.

“The expectation was to finish top three,” Assistant coach Juan Carillo said. “Besides that, I think the expectation was for each one of our guys to improve from last season, which we did, most of them had personal best times this year.”

However, the team also needed a high level of commitment to improve from the fifth place MAC finish of a year ago.

“It took the guys themselves just buying into the philosophy and the goals,” Snelling said. “If we told them four years ago that ‘hey, you guys could be top three in the MAC,’ when historically we finished around last, that’s a big step and a big commitment, but we give them a lot of credit in terms of doing that.”

The team also made the third place run without having any scholarship runners on the team.

“It’s obviously more challenging,” Snelling said. “I think these coaches have proven that we can do it, but I think it takes us just being very strategic in terms of identifying the guys that fit the niche for the team.”

The women’s team finished ninth in the MAC, compared to last year, where they finished third. However the coaches attribute this to losing some senior players and having a young team.

“On the girls’ side, we didn’t quite hit our expectations that we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the year,” Snelling said. “Some of that revolved around having high expectations for the program, just based on what they had done the previous three years, so there were some outside variables that kind of affected things.”

The women’s team is also highly optimistic for the start of next season to continue the improvement process.

“We’re really looking forward to development,” Snelling said. “We had a very large freshman class this year who I believe is very talented and with time, focus and consistency, can really do some big things over the next three years.”