Cross-country looks to build off promising last season

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Cross-country looks to build off promising last season

Photo by James Kirby

Photo by James Kirby

Photo by James Kirby

Photo by James Kirby

by Dustin Teays, Staff Writer

The Simpson cross-country teams are looking to build on the promising season they had last year. New faces and returning runners have made their debut this season during the Bill Buxton and Les Duke Invitationals.

Heath Moenck is the head coach for the men’s and women’s cross-country teams at Simpson College. Last fall, the men’s cross-country team had a good finish and are looking to improve upon that this season. The women’s team has a lot of fresh faces, but bring in a lot of talent. They are also looking to make waves this year in the central region.

There are 20 women and 22 men on the cross-country teams this year. Moenck said those are good numbers for both teams and also that the cross-country team holds open tryouts for those wanting to run.

“We will train the people who want to be here,” Moenck said.

The men’s team returns many experienced runners. Last year, they finished ranked 10th in the NCAA Central Region — the best ranking since 1996.

“We returned five of our top seven from a year ago, so we have no reason why we shouldn’t be improved from a year ago,” Moenck said.

Moenck will rely on experience to guide his team through this season. The men’s team entered this year ranked eighth in the NCAA Central Region, which was carry over from the success from a season ago. After the first meet of the season, they fell out of the rankings but are continuing to improve.

Out of the 20 members on the women’s team, 10 of them are freshmen. The Storm graduated a sizable senior class last spring. With so many new faces on the team, inexperience will be a factor.

Moenck knows his team is young, but doesn’t see that as too much of a problem.

“Cross-country is cross-country,” Moenck said. “A lot of these girls, even though it is their first year in college, have been running for a lot of years.”

Moenck says the talent on the squad will make up for some of the inexperience, and he has high hopes for his women.

“This year is going to be exciting because we have so many new women joining a squad with some accomplished returners,” Moenck said.

He spoke to the hard work that the women put in this summer. They will be looking to move up in the American Rivers Conference and the central region.

Building from the success of last year and creating new success this year will be the focus for both teams this season. The next meet is the Dan Huston Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29 in Waverly, Iowa.

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