LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (Nov. 13) – This past Saturday, Waynesburg University cross country head coach Chris Hardie took his men and women cross country teams to Lock Haven, PA for the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.
Despite the extremely competitive fields, as the men and women pools had nearly 30 teams each, and over 210 competitors in each, both Waynesburg squads put up valiant efforts, which Hardie took note of amongst everything that occurred.
Most notable of these performances was junior Andrew Kasper, who placed 89 out of the 222 male competitors and held a team-best time of 27:42.8.
When asked about Kasper’s performance over the weekend, as well as his progression over the course of the season, Hardie gave some insight into the resilience his runner had to endure this season.
“He had some obstacles to clear early this season, and he was really resilient. So I was really happy to see him run a solid race at regionals,” Hardie said. “He is one of the hardest workers on the team and really pours his heart into his training, so I am confident he will be even stronger and faster in the next 18 months.”
Another of the male runners who stepped up this season is freshman Christian Michaels, who, despite the fact that he is in the midst of wrestling season, still competed over the weekend. He even improved his team’s placing yet again, getting the second-highest for Waynesburg this weekend with a time of 28:51.1.
Similar to Kasper, Hardie spoke highly of the progress Michaels has made in his freshman campaign.
“He has really been coming on the strong during the second half of the season,” Hardie said. “He is devoted to both sports, and I really respect that. What sets him apart is his work ethic and his focus. When he sets his mind on something, nothing stands in his way.”
As always, these long-tenured seasons leave a lot to reflect upon from a coach’s perspective, and despite so much to evaluate in such a short time considering that Hardie and a number of these athletes will be transitioning to Indoor Track & Field over the course of the next several weeks, the coach of many hats still thought quite a lot of this season despite having it just ended.
“Development is the first word that comes to mind with this squad,” Hardie said. “We had a smaller roster and needed some people to run in situations that they weren’t used to. But each and every one of the runners made progress from day one until regionals, and that is a great thing to see.”
Indoor Track & Field soon approaches for these long-distance runners as well as a number of other athletes. For some, Coach Hardie will give them a few weeks’ rest while also preparing some light training for them soon, with late November and early December being the ideal timeframe for when to start them on a new training plan that will correlate with their track events.
Both men’s & women’s Indoor Track and Field teams have an early season debut at the West Virginia University Open on Friday, Dec. 3.