XC Team On Pace For Victory

Allen Sabatino for The Highlander

Jimmy Fisher, Reporter

Both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams are making high place finishes at their meets only a couple of weeks into the season.

On opening day at the Misericordia Invitational, the men’s team finished second out of six teams while the women’s finished third of seven teams. In the Lebanon Valley Classic, the women finished third out of 12 teams and the men finished second out of 10.

Eight year head coach Chris Wadas said the first meet’s results were a bit of a surprise.

“The first meet we were at our home meet, but we had a very good team come up in Dickinson. They are a top 15 team in the nation right now, but probably better from what I saw,” said Wadas. “We didn’t have our best meet. We were without one of our better guys. After that meet I wasn’t really sure. I knew we were working hard at that point, so I really didn’t expect much out of them, so with that said I was fairly happy.”

“It was a hot night, it was 85 degrees, we have a difficult course at ours, and a 5k is a difficult distance to run on a hard course because of the nature of the event and how quick it has to be.”

Wadas said he prepares athletes with a training program over the summer to get them into running shape for the season.

The program helps runners increase how far and fast they can run over the course of their summer as they take workout little by little.

Wadas said recent balmy weather has also helped his team because the season’s start is traditionally marked by the late August and early September heat.

“It’s a struggle,” said Wadas. “We’ve got some good weather this year a little bit. Most of our races haven’t been too bad. I mean, the first one was hot. As far as training though, you get through the heat.”

Wadas said he approached his workout regime differently this season to better prepare his students to run at a college level and not feel the effects when the season begins to dwindle and fatigue begins to set in.

“That helps them get accustomed to the college running. We kind of work them into their workout. We’re not putting them right into the hard work and beating them with races and running them down. We’re trying to work them into the system, trying to work them into their season, build their strength and work and let them kind of race a little bit into shape while we’re working on their strength. Their speed is not going to be quite there, but the way we do things, they’re going to be strong in the end and fast in the end, and we’ll try and eliminate some of the burnout both men- tally and physically.”

Wadas said he alters workouts each season to help acclimate to some of the students’ strengths.

Sophomore Mikael Hause is coming off a very good first year in which he finished as a scoring runner in every meet. He also recorded the fastest time by a first year in school history at the Gettysburg Invitational.

Heading into his second year, Hause said that he didn’t do much differently to prepare.

“I just stuck with that coach told me to do,” he said.

Hause is optimistic and hopeful that the team will do good things once the postseason comes around.

“Hopefully this year we’ll place higher in the MACs and maybe even higher at Regionals,” said Hause. “I think we got fifth last year, so our goal is to beat that for MACs.”

On a team dominated by mostly first years on the women’s squad, senior captain Bridget Comiskey says this group is exciting and al- ready doing better than last year’s.

“We have a lot of new fresh- man that show a lot of promise, so that’s good,” said Comiskey. “I know a lot of us were a minute faster this year than we were last year in our last race, so that’s kind of exciting.”

As co-captain along with fellow seniors Sara Sabatino and Julia Blaskiewicz, Comiskey loves hav- ing the responsibility and said the leaders do their best to “make it fun for [the freshmen].”

Comiskey said the off-season workout and Wadas’s training was helpful.

“Usually coming in for preseason it’s hard to walk because we’d be doing hard things,” Comiskey said. “I think he understands that most of us aren’t ready for that when we first come in, so it’s nice to be able to complete a workout and feel like you did a good job, and I think that motivates us to do better.”

Now in her final season, Comiskey said she doesn’t want to leave a legacy in terms of records or awards, but rather a good impression on the younger talent already on the team.

“Just finishing it is a big accomplishment for me,” said Comiskey. “But I guess I would like to leave knowing I inspired the freshman.”

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