The Millersville Cross Country team has been talking about this upcoming season, since Winter. This is just one example of the their increased level of commitment approaching the new season.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are in preparation and read to get another season underway. Coach Andy Young has seen “A significant increase in their commitment.”
“Not that they did not train hard in the past, but they have taken it to a whole other level,” Young said.
The women’s team was selected to finish sixth out of 16 teams and the men were chosen to place ninth out of 15 in the first-ever Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) coaches preseason poll.
However, both teams later received higher rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Atlantic Region Preseason Poll last week.
The women’s team jumped up one spot to fourth place while the men significantly increased after being selected fifth.
Coach Young said that while it is nice to get recognized, they do not put much into the polls.
As far as the difference in the polls, Young feels the team does not get much respect from the other coaches in the PSAC.
The women’s team’s biggest addition may not be an addition at all.
Senior Priscilla Jennings missed most of last season with an injury but now is ready to approach this season after a record-breaking year in track and field.
Coach Young not only expects her to compete at the regional and conference championships, but possibly be in the running for nationals.
While cross country is somewhat of an individual sport, the top seven runners at each competition determine the team’s score.
This means they need more than just one runner to finish well, but this should not be a problem. One person does not make a team, and Young acknowledges this.
“We have quality depth that we have not had in years,” Young said.
Junior, Brittany Zuver, excelled in track last year and is set for a successful season.
“She is ready to run fast this year,” Young said.
Jessica Leddy is one of only two seniors on the team. After putting up the team’s top finish at last year’s NCAA East Regional, Young thinks she is even stronger this year and motivated to finish her career at Millersville on a positive note.
Other top performers for this year’s team include junior, Jess Jacobson and freshmen Elicia Anderson and Rebekah Moore. Young thinks this team could be the deepest in the conference.
The men’s team also possesses a lot of depth. Senior Adam Malloy, was last season’s top performer at the PSAC Championships.
“He’s ready to run and do some damage,” Young said.
Junior Joshua Folds transferred in last season but came in with an injury. Folds is fully healed and in a lot better shape to make an impact.
Junior Jim Boyer also worked hard during the off-season to put himself at a higher level for this year. He is expected to have another successful year.
The team will run in the Alumni Open on Saturday. Young does not put much stock into this particular race and just hopes the team has a good time.
But that does not mean it does not mean anything and hopes to see where his team currently stands.
“I keep telling them, ‘This is the test of your fitness’,” Young said.
The team hopes that this winter they are reflecting on a successful season.