With a young team and plenty of promise, Knox’s men’s and women’s cross country teams finished up the 2010 season at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Rock Island, Ill. on Saturday morning. The men’s team finished in 31st place, two spots ahead of their 2009 finish. The women finished 38th out of 38 teams, a disappointing finish, and the same as 2009.
Freshman Gabe Moreno led the men’s team, finishing 146th out of the 275 runners present. Senior Ryan Maniscalco was just 11 seconds behind Moreno, finishing 159th in the final race of his career. Sophomore Sean Choate finished in 187th, with freshman Bobby Mueller and Tyler Buddell in 219th and 231st ,respectively.
With only Maniscalco graduating from their top five, and fellow senior Chris Bugajski graduating from their overall roster, the Prairie Fire will look for a much more significant improvement in 2011. And the team’s depth should help; the 15-man roster featured in 2010 was much larger than the three years prior.
If head coach Dan Zierfuss can once again pull in a sizable recruiting class (the current team has eight freshmen), the Prairie Fire should have enough depth to compete with anyone in the conference.
The women’s cross country team was again led by senior Chloe Bohm. Bohm, running in the final cross country race of her career, finished in 183rd place out of 263 runners. Freshman Yael Cody finished in 234th place.
It was a difficult season for the women’s team, as the roster was depleted by athletes studying abroad. Those who ran were often hampered by nagging injuries. But the team will only lose Bohm from its top five and fellow senior Helen Hapner from its roster.
Many of the team’s runners will participate in indoor track and field. The season begins with the Knox Invitational, January 15th. Zierfuss will be in his first season as the sole head coach of the indoor track and field team.
Last season, Knox’s women’s team finished in sixth out of nine teams at the Midwest Conference Championships, while the men’s team finished seventh.