By KYLEIGH COUTCHER
This season Mary Washington’s Men and Women’s Cross Country teams have both placed fourth again in the Capital Athletic Conference preseason polls. Mary Washington Women’s team assumed the fourth spot in the poll with 58 points and the Men’s team found themselves in fourth with 56 points.
Last year both teams finished fourth at the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference Championships in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This season both teams will be aiming to push past last year’s results and reach for a podium position.
When speaking to one of the Men’s Cross Country team members, Danny Reed, he felt confident that the Men’s Cross Country team has potential to do much better than the previous year.
“For the past couple years we’ve [ranked fourth place] in preseason polls and for the past two years we’ve gotten fourth in the conference meet, Reed said. “I know that in years before, we’ve been used to getting a podium position every year so it’s been something that we’ve been trying to attain.”
Reed sees the team’s potential advantages for the upcoming season. He said, “I feel like our team has more significant advantages this year than last year… The young talent and strong training regiment, provided by Assistant coach Alec Viliva, is something that will really help us in the coming season.”
On being a student athlete Reed said that, “being [an athlete] at UMW is one of the best experiences I could ask for because I get to represent my school on the course and around campus.”
On the Women’s Cross Country team, Emily Knerr, had similar feelings when asked about the Women’s Cross Country team advantages. She felt their team’s biggest advantage will also be the new young talent on the team. “I feel we definitely have a lot of advantages this year,” said Knerr. “On the the girls side we didn’t really lose any senior athletes and we gained a lot of new, motivated, and really talented freshmen that will really help push our trend forward this year.”
Knerr feels that having new young players will take the competition by surprise this year. “Since our team consists of relatively young and mostly new athletes I think that this means we have a good chance to surprise everyone in the conference.”
This year UMW’s biggest competition for both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team will be Christopher Newport, Salisbury and York. UMW’s cross country teams have some tough competition and adversity ahead of them this year but they have what it takes to earn a podium spot.