After finishing 24th of 28 at the NCAA district championship, cross country is looking to wipe the slate clean, according to its runners.
“Last season was difficult in a couple of ways,” said senior Matt Weintraub. “There was a small team to begin with when we started the season. Throughout the season a lot of guys got injured, we had a new coach, and our new coach that didn’t quite mesh well with the team.”
“We had a rough season,” said senior Alexa Kwapinski. “There were some standouts but there were some people who didn’t reach where they wanted to reach, and there were some meets where we didn’t perform as well as we wanted.”
However, Weintraub said the team has learned from their experiences last season and have set goals for this fall season.
“[Last Season] definitely gave us some motivation. We set some much bigger goals,” Weintraub said. We wanted to get back where we were 2 years ago, and I think now, everyone worked really hard over the summer, preseason went really well.”
Two years ago, the men’s cross country team beat Colgate and Loyola. The women’s cross country team finished ahead of Colgate two years ago at the Patriot League Championship, and now have their sights set on Lehigh.
“I think Lehigh looks at us as a team they can beat repeatedly, so we really want to prove them wrong, or at least come close,” Kwapinski said.
These goals have not only been shaped by the motivation to improve on last season, but by the influence of their new coach, Michael DuPaul. DuPaul spent his last two seasons at Maryland-Baltimore County.
“He’s bringing a different take on things, the workouts are different,” Weintraub said. “We are really trying get more mileage in. Right now we are running towards 30-40 miles a week, but we really want to get to 40-50 miles a week.”
“He’s putting more emphasis on weight room and some other smaller drills that might not seem as important to other people, but it’s those little things that make a difference in the long run,” Kwapinski said.
Throughout this season, the team is relying on their team dynamic and maturity to carry them through.
“I still see everyone being really committed and motivated to achieve the goals even though it didn’t quite work out last year,” said Weintraub. “I still see that everyone is still excited about the running and we have a good group to work with.”
“Through academy, we have a lot of sophomores, juniors and seniors taking leadership,” said Kwapinski. “We’ve all matured a lot, and I think that will be evident this season.”
Kwapinski and Weintraub both see Colgate, Holy Cross, Loyola, and Lehigh as Patriot League top contenders. The team will begin the season on September 2nd at the Monmouth Kick-Off.