Women's Cross Country: Progressing with a purpose - 2012 Season Preview
For Nick Cooper and the Norwich cross country team, 2012 is about continuing to progress. But it's also about progressing with a purpose—and that purpose is to shoot up the GNAC ranks, and fast.
Cooper, who is in his second year at the helm of the squad, led the Cadets to respectable finishes at the conference championships in 2011 and saw Mallory Clark (Homer City, Pa.) earn all-conference honors on the women's side. On the men's side, Joe Rosenthal (Pasadena, Md.) was the top individual finisher at the NCAA Division III New England Regionals. The two will serve as captains along with Jake Santarelli (South Hamilton, Mass) and Meghan Grenier (Voluntown, Conn.) and all four will be counted on to help continue the Cadets resurgence.
But the returners aren't the only ones will be counted on this season, as Cooper welcomes in the largest recruiting class in Norwich history on the women's side—11 girls will don the maroon and gold for the first time in the fall.
"The new girls are going to help out a lot," Cooper said. He added it will be nice to have such a young and energetic class coming in because: "It gives the current girls someone to run with and train with, so it makes it that much better, and they are all fast and are going to be competing for our top spots right away at the first meet."
Looking ahead, Cooper said his goals for the team are to keep steadily lowering times, something the men were very proficient at a year ago, averaging a two minute drop at the 8k distance. He also wants to see more individuals garner all-conference accolades and to have the team claim the top two spots at the GNAC Championships on both the men and women's sides.
Cooper feels this group is ready to make the leap and help the Cadets continue to compete at a high level.
"It's a big jump but I think…with the new commitment they've shown to the team over this last year, I think we'll be able to do it."
Norwich opens up their season at the Keene State Invitational on Sept. 1.
2012 Season Outlook Video - Brady Farkas, Norwich Sports Information