The men’s cross country team is kicking off its new season hoping to rebound from an injury-riddled 2014 season. Despite finishing eighth in the Crossroads League last year, the men boasted a team average GPA of 3.4. The team looks to convert this success to the course this season.
Coach Tom King said practices have gone well, and he is anxious to see what the season holds.
The freshmen on the team this year are Kevin Moser, Daniel Perry and CJ Robertson. Sophomores include Codi Wiersema and Zach McIntyre, and juniors are Austin Presnell, Stephen Kays and Michael Bowman.
Leading the way for the squad is the lone senior, Tyler Herber, who tore his left hamstring and unable to run the entire 2014 season after qualifying for Nationals as a sophomore. Herber said he has high hopes going into this season — for the Foresters and for himself. He said his goals are to get the team back to its successful, competitive ways and to Nationals. Herber said he realizes the difficulty of coming back after a year on the sidelines, but accepts the challenge.
“I expect to do well. However, no matter how I do, I want to praise God for being blessed to compete again on the intercollegiate scene,” Herber said. “I haven’t raced in a year and a half, so I’m really trying to stay calm and just praise God for being able to race with such great teammates and friends.”
Leadership will also come by way of Presnell, who said he has his sights set on qualifying for Nationals. Presnell said some of his best training happened this summer, making him excited for the season and ready to compete.
The squad competed in its first meet on Sept. 12 at Calvin College and held their own against the tough competition present, which included several NCAA Division I and II schools. Herber ran the 8K in 26:19, coming in 42nd out of 355 runners. Presnell finished close behind at 26:31, clocking in at 49th. Zach McIntyre placed 103rd with a time of 27:39, while Codi Wiersema set a new personal record, finishing 118th with a time of 28:07.
King said he is proud of the young men he coaches.
“They’re a great group of kids – so hard working,” King said. “[They’re] probably the hardest-working group on this campus, given that they run ten to twelve miles a day.”