This Saturday the Ohio Wesleyan men’s and women’s cross country teams will be competing at the North Coast Athletic Conference championship meet at Wabash College.
Ohio Wesleyan head coach Matt Wackerly says that the competition will be at its best. The Bishop men’s team will be competing against six nationally ranked teams, including Allegheny College, which is ranked third in the country. The women’s team is also up against strong competition, particularly Oberlin College, which is ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation.
To prepare for this event, the runners started training back in June and have been running almost every day since. Wackerly says the men’s team has run approximately 60-75 miles a week, and the women’s team has accumulated about 35-55 miles a week.
Senior Kat Zimmerly is convinced that the training “has put us into position to do our best at the NCACs and beyond.”
“We are feeling strong, fast, and ready to compete on a national level,” adds junior Sharif Kronemer.
At last year’s NCAC championships, the men’s team finished fourth and the women’s team finished sixth. Wackerly notes that the men’s team has improved and would be content with a finish in the top three. Although a lot of the women’s team from last year graduated, the team has worked hard and have run progressively better in each meet this season. Wackerly credits this to the individual summer and fall training the women have done to prepare for the season.
Kronemer is convinced the men’s team will be able to improve its performance from last year’s competition. “It’s a matter of getting out strong, being tough in the middle, and putting everything on the line in the last mile.”
Wackerly describes the men’s team as “a strong pack and very deep.” He is especially relying on Kronemer, junior Evan Hitchcock and junior Kale Booher to lead the team.
For the women, Zimmerly has been the top finisher for the team in nearly every meet of her career at Ohio Wesleyan. “She has established herself as one of the strongest runners in the NCAC, as well as one of the most decorated distance runners in OWU history,” says Wackerly. He also expects freshman Cara DeAngelis and junior Emma Lisull to contribute as well.
“They have represented themselves, their families, school, and program with absolute class. I couldn’t ask for better people in the program, and I am excited to see what they are able to do next Saturday,” says Wackerly.