TIFFIN - With no seniors on either the men's or women's squads, the Heidelberg University cross country program will be relying on youth to carry it through the 2014 campaign. Both squads were selected to finish 5th in the preseason OAC coaches poll.
Head Coach Ron Martin will lead both programs this season, being the first cross-specific coach at Heidelberg in over a decade. A 1974 'Berg alumni and a 1992 inductee into the Heidelberg Athletics Hall of Fame, Martin is excited to get the season underway.
On the women's side, they'll certainly miss 2013 OAC Champion Sophie Goobic, but the team is determined to keep taking strides forward. "Any time you lose a conference champion, you take a big hit, but we have more depth than we've ever had", said Martin.
There will be a battle for the number one spot between Rachel House and Dani Blum, but that doesn't mean others will not step up and challenge them. Hayley Cochran, Allie Dresser, and Shawnda Henault will join House and Blum to round out a good front five. Miranda Shaffer, Baylee Garrett, Courtney Ksenich, Elizabeth Volz, and Kristen Fett will add important depth as well.
For the men, Jesse Rudolph, Zach Flint, Brandon McNeil, Devaun Churchya, and Matt Fee will be counted on to lead the way, but Coach Martin says he won't be surprised if there are others that step up and make an impact. There are a lot of freshman that will have the opportunity to contribute, with Dylan Dombi, Isaac Kuntz, Nick Jones, Cameron Weaks, Brad Bannister, Tim Faiken, and Dominic Frey all having an excellent shot to be in the top seven.
For both groups, they have all the tools necessary to have a solid season. Coach Martin stated, "I'm happy with the way they're working and the attitude they have right now. If they can bring back to campus what we've had at camp, we can be really successful."
Both squads open up their season this Friday, August 29th, at the Bluffton Invitational.
OAC Preseason Cross Country Polls
|1||Mount Union||80 (8)||1||Mount Union||81 (9)|
|2||Otterbein||69 (2)||2||John Carroll||68|
|3||John Carroll||65||3||Ohio Northern||67 (1)|
|6||Baldwin Wallace||32||5||Baldwin Wallace||45|
(1st place votes in parenthesis)