The Pitt State men and women’s cross-country teams are gearing up for the upcoming 2019 season.
Head Coach Russ Jewett is looking forward to seeing all the new cross-country members.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the new folks and their contributions to the program, how they adjust and adapt to our program and our culture,” Jewett said.
A few things will be different this season, according to Jewett.
“Well, our schedule will be a little bit different,” Jewett said. “We hardly ever have the same schedule, year after year. It will be a little different in that we have a couple of teams that left the conference. One of them was very good in cross country (and) that was Southwest Baptist. So, there will be a couple new schools coming in... You lose some people to graduation. Our women’s team particularly lost some really good athletes to graduation. We brought some new runners in. Our men didn’t lose much last year. We lost a couple of runners from last year. So, our men’s team will be, I think, actually a little deeper it looks like, right now. (The) Women’s team, maybe not quite as deep as we were last year. We had a really outstanding year last year…”
The cross-country teams hosted their annual Alumni meet on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Countryside Golf Course. Sophomore Ben Kahnk raced to victory in the men’s six-kilometer race and senior Piper Misse claimed the women’s four-kilometer race.
“It went fairly well,” Jewett said. “The weather was a little dicey, so the turnout wasn’t great for alums but… I had a lot of fun and we got a chance to see where we are race fitness wise. That’s one of the objectives, one of the purposes of this competition is just to give a race effort and see how we did over the summer and base training and here we are. It turned out pretty well. With the conditions the way they were, it was very marshy out there on the golf course. By times, we’re not very fast but the effort was really good. I was really pleased with both teams and how we raced in small packs. That’s what our objective was, and we accomplished that. Our men showed we do have some depth at least at the short race distance… But it was a pretty good turnout all together.”
The regular season for cross country begins on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
“That’s a meet that we have not ever been to,” Jewett said. “It looks to be, from the past years, a somewhat lowkey event, which is what we are looking for. It’s a short race distance as we had at our alumni race. It’s a four mile for the men, 5k for the women. So, then they’ll be on the way to 8k for the following meet after that so that’s a nice little step up kind of thing. But it’ll be lowkey and it’s a chance to, without a whole bunch of runners in a race, a chance to work on strategy and just staying strong and tough in the middle of a distance race… 90 percent of conquering a distance race is just being mentally tough and I think once you get to the race, preparation makes a big difference…”