Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignments Reporter –
The Southern Owls cross country team ran to their potential this season, finishing fifth in the East Region. The men’s team wrapped up their successful season with personal-bests for every Owls participant at the 10K NCAA East Regional Conference. The meet took place the first week of November in Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH.
Now the team is looking forward to next season by focusing on some persisting goals. As this season marks the end of the road for some graduating seniors, they can at least appreciate that it ended in success for a team that saw real improvement.
“I’d say as a whole we were very successful as far as individual accomplishments,” said senior Josh Perry, from Naugatuck, Conn. The turnout at Regionals was especially memorable.
“This year, everyone who competed for us achieved a personal best.”
Along with the newly achieved personal bests, Perry and fellow senior captain Brian Nills earned All-Region Honors. Perry finished eighth in the meet with a time of 30 minutes, 49.2 seconds. Nills finished 14th with a time of 30 minutes, 59.6 seconds. Both runners made the NCAA All-East Region Team, which is comprised of the top 25 runners from the meet. Men’s cross country Coach John Wallin commented on the success these two captains and graduating seniors have had this season.
“These two guys were consistently our most impressive and competitive runners all season long,” said Wallin, who referred to this past season as “solid.”
“Our men’s cross country team had a solid year, finishing the season fifth in the East Region. With our team’s best race coming when it mattered most, every member of our team ran their lifetime best [at Regional’s],” Wallin said.
Asher Brandt, senior from Orange, Conn., said that this season the team ran to their potential.
“The season started off well as most people were just getting used to racing again and putting in the proper training. Our biggest let down was not making the National meet, but we ran very well at the regional meet,” said Brandt. “This season was very successful as most of us put in a great block of training and ran our best races this season.”
Brandt said his personal highlights from this season were at the Connecticut College and Regional Meets, but overall he said he iis proud of his advancements as a runner.
Brandt also recognized some fellow teammates for their improvement in performance throughout this semester. He mentioned Sophomore Tom Saksa and Senior Samuel Montclair and their achievements at Regionals.
“Tom Saksa and Sam Montclair really stepped up to the plate and ran outstanding at the NCAA DII Northeast Regional Meet” Brandt said.
Perry said throughout his cross country career at Southern, he achieved more than he thought he could. “My experience was amazing with the team,” said Perry, whose eligibility to run has come to an end. “I made unbelievable advancements in my performance over the years.” Perry said his achievements throughout his experience on the team surpassed his expectations of himself. “I knew I was good, but I didn’t know I was this good.”
After placing fifth in the East Region and each member achieving a new personal best, the team will miss their graduating seniors but is motivated to advance farther. The team looks forward to next season and continues to pursue its goal and constant improvement.
“Our goal will always be the same,” said Coach Wallin. “We must make the NCAA championships, and win the East Region.”
“Next season I would like to see our team make the National meet,” said Brandt.