By CAITLIN GILMARTIN
In the sports world, each season brings something new to the table. The dynamics change as seniors graduate and freshmen arrive. For the runners at North Central, another season is underway, bringing new records, personal bests and as always, some taped ankles. The Rams’ cross country team this year is composed of nine women and nine men. Captains for the women this year are ICS major Catherine Mead and Psychology major Angela Riley, with the men being led by Elementary Education major Jesse Richards and Business major Daniel Bare. One new face this season is freshman Elementry Education major Michelle Hubbell from Pocahontas, IA. Hubbell ran both cross country and track in high school and is now furthering her miles here at NCU this fall.
“Running in college is a lot more intense than it was in high school,” Hubbell said. “But my performances at meets have been continually improving and my times have dropped at each meet so far.” Hubbell also mentioned how the small team is like one big family, an idea that was reiterated by captain Angela Riley as well.
“One word that definitely comes to my mind when I think about cross country is family. We focus on being great runners and strive to run our best, but we also focus on being great men and women of God,” said Riley, a fifth year senior running for her fourth year at NCU. “It has been a privilege to serve as captain to an amazing team of athletes.” Combining fresh young talent with veteran experience adds a great dynamic to a team, especially for running. On the men’s side, the athletes this year are strong, probably one of the toughest groups the Rams have had yet.
Senior captain Daniel Bare commented, “Even with the returning athletes, it is a new team every year because the new runners bring a different dynamic. A lot of our guys are running close together both in practice and during the races.” Bare added that this aspect makes for a more competitive team because the guys will really push each other to their full potential. The men are looking to improve on their third place finish at nationals last year and reclaim the title that was theirs in years past. And with the dedication this squad has this season, their chances are looking good.
Captain, junior Jesse Richards added, “We are hoping to get back to the top this year. A lot of runners were truly diligent this summer and clocked a lot of miles, which is paying off for them now and will at nationals as well.” As the athletes continue to work hard this fall to prepare and train for the national meet in November, the level of competition rises and the adrenaline starts pumping.
Captain, junior Catherine Mead added, “We have a really strong group of girls who know how to work hard and give their all. I am excited to see what this year holds and hopefully come November, by the power of Christ in us, we will bring home our fifth national championship banner. “ The closest upcoming meet for the Rams is on Saturday, October 31 at Crown College in St. Bonifacious. The women run at noon and the men start at one o’clock. It is the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Championship Meet, so the level of competition will be high. And with support from the student body, the intensity will only get higher.
For more information stats and records about North Central Cross Country visit the North Central Athletics Cross Country page.