Cross country warms up for ’09 campaign

With the fall semester approaching and the last bit of summer ticking away the UAA cross-country team is gearing up for another season of racing.

With last year being the best season ever for the Seawolves, there will no doubt be exciting action this year as well.

The ’08 season ended with the men’s and women’s teams both finishing very well in the NCAA Division II capturing the 11th and ninth spots respectively.

Head coach Michael Friess will be entering his 20th season with the Seawolves this year, and has lead the team to the NCAA championships six times.

Entering his third year with the Seawolves is assistant coach T.J. Garlatz, who also plays a large part in recruiting for the program.

Training starts in August for the team and the first meet will be held over Labor Dayweekend.

The summer months are more or less considered down time for the runners, according to Friess

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They are free to compete in local events and train on their own if they want but “summer is generally a time to get away from racing and to mix it up a bit,” Friess said, “We want every one to come into the season fresh and rested.”

In the weeks prior to the beginning of the season gets rolling the coaches have to put in time to finalize the roster and for both coaches and runners in order to prepare for this season’s training.

After the first couple meets in September things really start to get serious.

The GNAC Championship meet takes place in October and then in November both the Western region Championships and the overall NCAA Championships take place, capping off a short but intense couple of months of racing.

Placing in the top ten NCAA standings is a goal for both the men and women this season.

“It’s the same story every year” Friess said, “How good can we be when it really counts?”

The west is an extremely competitive division with five teams placing in the top ten. However chances look good for the Seawolves again this year with some strong new runners joining the team as well as returning veteran athletes who have produced great results in the past.

Some of the returning runners include Marko Cheseto, a senior who was the first UAA athlete to achieve two all-American awards in one season with notable achievements in the 5,000 and 10,000m and recently set a new record in the Mayors Half Marathon with a time of 1:09:24.

Alfred Kangogo and Paul Rottich are also consistent top ten finishers that are expected to return to the men’s squad this season.

On the women’s squad Laura Carr who has a few championship appearances including helping the team to last years ninth-place finish should be back along with Emma Bohman who had a strong presence last year.

Hallidie Wilt and Ruth Jeptoo also had a strong and successful 2008 campaign will be returning to the team.

With the success of recent years fresh in the minds of the team and the strong, dedicated runners, the Seawolves cross country teams experience even more success this fall.