The men’s cross country team has made Ohio Wesleyan history. They are the first Battling Bishop men’s team to qualify to compete in the NCAA Division III national championship meet. Last weekend the men’s team finished fourth of 33 teams in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet.
But nothing has changed for the team; they will prepare the same way they did at the beginning of the season, which has led them to such success. “As far as training is concerned, Coach [Matt] Wackerly has had our workouts for this week ready since the beginning of the year, so we are definitely just sticking to the routine,” says junior Kale Booher, who helped lead the Bishops on Saturday.
Booher, along with junior Shariff Kronemer, were given all-region accolades. According to Wackerly, “They are one of the best duos in OWU history.”
Booher and Kronemer won’t take all of the credit for the success last weekend, though. “This team is really special. None of us would have made it out individually, so it means all that much more to us that we had to do it as a team,” says Booher.
The team is less nervous and more overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation to compete at nationals this Saturday in Waverly, Iowa. Since the team set this goal at the start of the season in August, they are more than prepared to display their natural talents and hard work. “I am completely overwhelmed with excitement and pride for my teammates,” says Kronemer.
The overall characteristic seen in this team is their humility. Although they strived to do their best at every meet, their success was taken in stride and they immediately focused on their upcoming meets, never dwelling too long on their outstanding achievements. Wackerly calls the team “intrinsically motivated, humble and driven.”
Along with the success of the men’s team, senior Kat Zimmerly also shined at the regional meet, finishing seventh overall. Zimmerly was the only Ohio Wesleyan individual to qualify for nationals, a dream she has been chasing since she started running. “I think that it is safe to say that she has established herself as one of, if not the very best, female cross country athlete that OWU has ever had!” says Wackerly.
When competing on Sunday, the men’s team and Zimmerly should be proud of their accomplishments and know they have left their imprint on the history of Ohio Wesleyan athletics. Their hard work has led them to be able to compete with the top teams in the nation. “Through rain, the cold, painful workouts, and emotionally difficult races, we never lost sight of this goal. We gave our lives to this goal, and to say that we achieved it is extraordinary,” says Kronemer.