Cross country runs over competition

Cross country runs over competition

by Jessie ErnstStaff Writer

Simpson’s cross country team is relatively inexperienced but is staying strong and experiencing innovation.

“We are in rebuilding mode,” Head Coach Todd Deely said.

The rebuilding is proving successful. With high place finishes for both the men and women’s teams and first and second place finishes as individuals, both teams are seeing the season shape up. Men and women are hoping for a step-up in the conference. Jen Wendt, a senior runner who is currently injured, has good team spirit.

“I think the freshman are transitioning very well,” Wendt said. “We have a lot of potential.”

Deely has high hopes for Wendt as well as the team.

“Jen needs to get healthy,” Deely said. “When she is good, we have a much better (women’s) team.”

The men have also shown much enthusiasm this year. Deely has set a high goal for the team.

“We want to have a top-five finish in the conference,” Deely said.

Senior runner Rich Elings agrees with this goal and looks for the coming years.

“As a team we want to do a lot better at conference this year and set up for next year,” Elings said. “We want to build for the future.”

There are many keys to achieving these goals.

“The freshman need to mature quickly,” Deely said. “The older guys need to step up and they’ve done a really good job of that.”

Elings confirms that the team has created a positive atmosphere this season in order to achieve their goals.

“The upperclassmen have stepped in as leaders,” Elings said. “The freshmen have stepped up, too. We all push each other really hard.”

The women have also been working hard as a team to accomplish their goals.

“One of our big goals is to really move up in the conference,” Wendt said. “We are hoping for a third-place finish this year.”

Freshman Jess Christensen, who finished first in the Simpson Buxton Open, is one of the runners helping with this goal.

“I think we need to focus on helping each other,” Christensen said. “We need to be a support system.”

This goal is easier this season compared to others because of numbers.

“We definitely have a bigger team, which has been a big change,” Wendt said. “We have people out there to run with every day and there is more competition.”

Throughout the season, both men and women runners have been very determined in staying strong as a team and there are still almost six weeks left in the season. Deely remains as optimistic for the rest of the season as he has been for the first half.

“We’re young, we’re growing and we’re only going to get better,” Deely said. “We’re very pleased with where we are at right now.”