Updated Mon, Aug 26, 2013 10:55 am
The Ohio University Men's cross country team has a goal to improve on a now solid foundation of runners. The new season brings collective excitement for all of the runners to step up into new roles and excel for the team's benefit. The team hopes to rally behind the experience it gained in the 2012 season and be more successful in the upcoming year.
Clay Calkins returns for an 11th season to coach the men. When Calkins was asked what would be different between the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, he said, "The team will be open to improvement from last year."
The men hope to grow with experience as the freshmen and sophomores from the 2012 roster will be asked to fill bigger roles in this upcoming season. In 2012, the men finished seventh in the Mid-American Conference. "The team is trying to bust into the top half of the MAC this year," Calkins said. Although the team is relatively young with only one senior, many of the runners gained experience in the 2012 season and they hope to use that experience to grow individually and as a team.
Tyler Ames, Ohio’s top runner a season ago, graduated in 2012. "The team will be missing him," Calkins said. "It's hard to replace some of that top talent." Hoping to recover from this loss, Coach Calkins anticipates that sophomores Jacob Stephens and Matt Watts and juniors Brandon O'Malley and Chase Robinson will have breakout seasons. "I don't want to single out to many people to early because it is hard to tell,” Calkins said. “(But we have) a solid returning group."
With regard to preseason training Calkins said, "The team is being more specific in workouts to get more specific times."
"Cross country is a heads-up competition and there are no secrets in our sport, you just need to be faster," Calkins said. "The team is excited and committed coming off of summer training … Cross country is such a team sport that you need a bond.”
The men are excited to step off at their first meet in Oxford, Ohio, against rival Miami (OH) on Sept. 7 at 10:30 a.m. On Sept. 14, the Bobcats look to defend their home turf again in their sole home meet at the Ohio Invitational when the gun fires at 10:45 a.m. Altogether, the schedule contains six meets leading up to the MAC Championship. Throughout the year the 'Cats will have their eyes set on placing higher in the MAC then they did in the 2012 season.