Cross country looks to break through

The cross country team’s season is finally starting to take form.

With four meets under their belt and the upcoming Central Collegiates meet on its way tomorrow, the team is striving to reach for their fullest potential.

The women’s team, though successful thus far, still hasn’t reached its main goal, which is a victory.

“We have finished second the past two weeks and we want a team title Friday,” coach Cami Wells said.

The women have months of preparation to thank for their success this season and are prepared to accomplish their goal of winning this weekend.

“The women’s team has been racing well all season,” Wells said.

“They prepared themselves well this summer and they have worked extremely hard the past five weeks to get to the point they are at right now.”

But the team may be hurting this weekend despite their preparations as veteran Niki Suitor is not likely to race due to a hamstring injury from last weekend’s meet. If Suitor is unable to perform, second-year runner Leslie Carden will take her place.

The men, on the other hand, will be at full strength this weekend as the injury bug has not affected them yet this week.

“The men had a much better race Saturday than the Mel Brodt meet,” Wells said. “They are working together as a team now and they are focused on making improvements every week.”

And with a rough schedule ahead that will eventually include the Mid-American Conference championships, improvement will be necessary to compete with the upper tier teams of the MAC.

“They know there is a lot of work ahead of them to get to the higher ranks of the conference,” Wells said. “The conference is loaded with talent and currently has two teams ranked in the top ten in the nation.”

But to get to the higher ranks, the team now must be prepared to move on without talented veteran Mario Rothmund, who was not granted medical hardship from the NCAA. Though he will not be helping the team on the race tracks, he will be helping them prepare for their meets as an assistant coach.

And while it may seem like this could hinder the men’s season, Wells sees this decision as a load off the team’s mind.

“It is nice to finally have an end to the waiting,” Wells said. “It wasn’t in anyone’s best interest to have the decision lingering so long into the season.”

Both the men and the women are ready to continue on with their seasons and will do so this weekend in Three Rivers, Mich.