Men’s cross country hopeful for continued success at SVC

By: Dylan Cleland & Jesse Cain

Sports Editor, For the Yellow Jacket

Following two straight weeks of competition, the women’s cross country team will have an off week, as the men prepare for their third consecutive meet to start 2019. The Jackets will compete in the St. Vincent College Invitational in Latrobe this Saturday.

Through the first two weeks of the season, head coach Chris Hardie said he is satisfied with what he’s seen from young athletes such as freshman Jac Cokley.

“[Cokley] has trained really well this summer, so he has set himself up to be pretty successful this year,” Hardie said. “It is difficult as a freshman to make the transition from a 5k, which is the high school competitive distance, to the collegiate 8k. He has adjusted well, and I think he definitely has a bright future ahead of him.”

Hardie also praised the strength of his junior class, as the top six performed well at both the Westminster-Fisher and Bethany College Invitationals.

“There is a core group of juniors, which there [are] six of them, and they are primarily the most consistent runners on our team,” he said.

A few of those main junior contributing this season according to Hardie are Mac Colomb, Matt Durgin, Nate Jecelin, Jordan Payne and Kyle Warmbein. All have already made an impact on the Jackets top five finishes as a team at the first two meets of the season.

While Waynesburg placed sixth overall at Bethany, Hardie believes there are more challenges that the Jackets will have to overcome throughout the season.

“We’re not a clear favorite,” Hardie said. “There are a couple of other teams that are probably a little higher ranked than us. One [of those] being St. Vincent who is a really good team. They’re deep and talented, we’re going to see them this weekend coming up.”

When looking back on previous meets where the Jackets encountered the Bearcats, Hardie recollected that they are a tough team to face.

“We saw them a little bit at Westminster, but we want to see them on their home course and how tough they’re going to be,” Hardie said. 

As far as Waynesburg’s team strategy going forward, Hardie said they’ll focus on maintaining and carrying the momentum they’ve gained through the first two weeks of the season.

“I would say we’re in good shape,” he said. “We had a good race and we need to continue that momentum as we head through the season. I think our team looks more at themselves as a number three team that is trying to close the gap on the first and second team[s].”