Written by Katie Morford Tuesday, 30 August 2011 16:40
The Tabor College men’s and women’s cross-country teams will work on improving strength and speed this season with the hope of surpassing their sixth- and seventh-place finishes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championships last year.
“I think (the men) should have a good shot at finishing fourth, maybe third if everything goes just right,” coach Dan Swaney said. “The women were seventh last year and I’d like to get fifth, but we might be able to finish as high as fourth.”
Swaney said he expects junior Jacob Heil and sophomore Dylan Crawford to be key competitors on the men’s side, along with Hillsboro freshman Joel Allen.
All-KCAC runner Brielle Lund, a sophomore this year, and freshman Hannah Holmes will likely make strides for the women this year, too.
“Hannah Holmes has been running particularly well since the fall athletes reported, and I think she will end up playing a larger role in the success of the team than I had initially expected,” Swaney said.
Swaney said he has some other newcomers who will bring good things to the teams.
“On the men’s side we have a few important additions who should be able to make an impact,” he said.
“Joel Allen and Garrett Daugherty, in particular, will be key to the team’s success,” he said. “Chris Lopez might end up having more success in track than cross country, but I expect he will be in the mix for a position in the top five.
“For the women, we added four freshmen who should improve our depth fairly significantly.”
Swaney said since in cross country your opponents rarely directly influence a runner’s performance in a race, the whole focus of training has to be on a runner’s personal efforts to get faster as the season progresses.
“With cross country it’s really all about how well your training goes, how strong you can get, and staying healthy,” he said.
“We’ll be working on getting some solid mileage, anywhere from 30 to 70 miles per week, depending on the person, doing fast intervals, and trying to improve strength and speed through core exercises, weight lifting, and plyometric and medicine ball drills.”
Swaney expects all that hard work to pay off in the toughest meets.
“There seems to be good competition consistently at the Emporia State Invitational, so even though we’ve had some very good individual performances the last couple years, it’s hard to score well as a team.”
“But conference championships are really our focus throughout the season because that’s really the only meet where it matters how well we run.
“Then you hope that someone is able to run well enough to get a qualifying spot for nationals.”
The Bluejays are scheduled to participate in their first meet Sept. 3 in Augusta.