“We want to win the CCAC on both sides, try to garner top 10 finishes for both teams at the NAIA National Championships, and to have as many individual All-American performances as possible,” head cross country coach Mike McDowell said.
McDowell believes that St. Francis will continue to be Olivet’s biggest rival within the CCAC.
McDowell is really looking forward to seeing what the teams accomplish this year.
“The heart and camaraderie that they’ve already shown will be exciting to be a part of as the season moves forward,” McDowell said.
Several team members commented on what they were most excited about in the upcoming season.
“The team this year is closer than we have been in a long time and the sense of community is incredible. I am excited to continue to put in hard work and compete alongside these guys I consider my brothers,” Tyler Steepe said.
Senior Matt Montgomery has had the privilege to belong to four different teams and foresees extreme positivity and growth throughout this upcoming season. He is excited about the showing the team will have at the national meet in November. “Team culture is a huge focus of ours and is a driving force behind our success,: Montgomery said.
“This season I am looking forward to a new team dynamic that ONU Cross Country hasn’t had in a while. Everyone on this year’s team is focused on building community which will translate into stronger work ethic on and off the field,” Michael Lewis said.
“The team is really positive and all the runners are willing to work hard. We have our eyes set on victory, with our motivation being to glorify the Lord. We’re ready to fight through the tough lows of the season and through the high points,” Zach Bishop said.
“I am most excited for how we are going to grow and compete as a team this season.,” Grant Guimond said.
The cross country team has 11 freshmen on the men’s team ready to show what they are capable of and eight freshmen on the women’s team ready to show off their skills, along with the new assistant coach Ashley Thomas, graduate of Grace College, joining them this season.
The cross country team’s had their first meet at Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais, Illinois, on Sept. 9. The men’s team finished in the top five places with 15 points. The women’s team finished with 18 points.
Their next meet is Sept. 23 at Brissman-Lundeen Invitational at 5 p.m.
— Antonio Lampley, Contributing Writer