Men’s cross country running smoothly

Oct. 22, 2012

Jonathan Toman
jtoman@uccs.edu

The men’s cross country team has run to a top ten national ranking but doesn’t plan to stop now.

Sitting at ninth in the nation, the team has its highest ranking in team history. Its runners are in the top ten of the nation despite being ranked fourth in their region because the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is one of the best in the country. Four of the top 10 runners in the national rankings are from Colorado.

“We’ve been good for a while,” said Head Coach Mark Misch. “The standard has been set, but it’s a difference between just getting there and believing you’re one of the better teams.”

This year’s team is one of those, according to Misch. “They’re just a bunch of really solid fellows who believe in the team concept,” he said.

The Mountain Lions took first at the Colorado College Invitational on Sept. 15, sweeping the top six places.

“Getting first through sixth happens hardly ever,” said Misch. “We got some good momentum there and overcame the little things.”

The team also won the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota on Sept. 29, a meet that included 36 schools and a “national type-environment,” according to Misch.

“The course was kind of our forte – it really favored us coming from altitude,” said Mike English, a senior majoring in business management with a minor in economics.

“That was a big showdown,” said senior Sam Feldotto. “We were able to put together all our hard work, and see how we could do against a big field.”

While individual finishes are important, cross country is a team sport, as this year’s squad demonstrates.

“We count on our depth – kinda like the Denver Nuggets,” said English. “We rely on being able to move through the field as a pack and work together.”

“It’s individual effort that factors into a bigger picture,” echoed Feldotto. “If one person isn’t running at full capacity, then the team isn’t either.”

With regards to the rest of the season, both Feldotto and English are optimistic. “As long as we’re able to continue our progress, I think the season will turn out exactly how we want. I’m excited to see how it all finishes,” said Feldotto.

“Our ultimate goal is to make nationals, and trying to go top five in the country,” English said.

After hosting the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet on Oct. 20 for the first time in the program’s 17-year history, the team heads to regionals in Denver on Nov. 3. The Mountain Lions then hope to have a crack at nationals, which are on Nov. 17 in Joplin, Mo.

“I think with all our guys, the best is yet to come,” said Misch.

Editor’s note: English works as The Scribe’s business manager.