Young runners lead of the pack

Young runners lead of the pack

by Sara Sonderman

As the 2002 cross country season begins, Head Coach Erin Bresnan is eager to see what is in store for her Simpson College teams.

“As far as recruiting went, on the women’s side it was awesome.” Bresnan said. “We only have three returnees, but we have seven new freshmen along with two sophomores that decided to go out.”

The Storm lost their top two runners to graduation.

“Being so young is going to be good and bad. We have a fresh slate which is a good foundation to start,” Bresnan said. “We will be able to improve steadily throughout the year.”

According to Bresnan, freshmen Kirsty Moreno and Stephanie Shenefield have been leading the pack of runners in preseason workouts.

“Besides those two, we have a real solid pack of runners who will benefit us in team points,” Bresnan said.

Lone senior and team captain Miriah Johnson is on the injured list, which means the Storm will be young when their season starts tomorrow at Augustana College.

The men’s team returns after a fourth place finish at the 2001 Iowa Conference Championship under first year coach Bresnan.

“On the men’s side we are in the opposite position as we are with the women,” Bresnan said.

The Storm have only two freshmen on the roster to go along with their six seniors.

“Those seniors are going to be huge for us,” Bresnan said. “They have the experience and have trained hard over the summer.”

Bresnan believes seniors Tony Ekman and Alex White, along with sophomore Dan Saar, will be the Storm’s top runners.

“Seniors Doug Besch and Bryan Maher will also be strong contributors,” Bresnan said.

A number of the men on the team did a little extra bonding over the summer when they decided to get matching tattoos.

“We are a pretty close group of guys,” Besch said. “It should be one of our finest seasons.”

A week before school started Bresnan and the Storm went to Okoboji for team camp.

“It was an important week of training, but it was also important that we all got to know each other,” Bresnan said.

According to freshman Kristen Wolfe the trip was valuable.

“At first we just all sat there and pretty much stared at each other.” Wolfe said. “But after a little while everyone started loosening up and it ended up being a great time.”

As for the Iowa Conference, Bresnan believes that Wartburg will once again be at the top.

“We have a lot tougher schedule this year so that will only benefit us in the end,” Bresnan said.