Strong leadership boosts cross country

Kiley Fischer, Sports Editor

Leadership has proven to be the backbone of Griffin cross country so far in the 2011 season.

The Seton Hill University (SHU) cross country teams have dominated in their first two competitions.  The teams have combined for three first places and a second in two meets each since the season began on September 3.

“Last year both teams were very senior heavy and this year we are one of the youngest teams in the WVIAC.  We have 8 freshmen women and 6 freshmen men…This change will be a fresh start for the upperclassmen and women,” said cross country head coach Tim Creamer.

With only three senior women and no senior men, the teams will look to the upperclassmen they do have for experience and guidance.

Stephanie Pryor, a 2010 WIAC first team all conference runner, is “one of the early season favorites to contend for the WVIAC [West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] Individual championship,” said Creamer.

Pryor will be looked to for leadership along with co-captain Julie Pierret.  Pierret made appearances with the 2009 1st team all-conference and the 2010 2nd team all conference.

Creamer also expects great things of the co-captains of the men’s team, Dom Camasso and Jon Bogert.  Camasso was the 2009 WVIAC Individual Champion and a two-time participant in the first team all-conference.  Bogert has run on two first team all-conference teams.

The teams are focused on their goals.  “My expectations for both the men’s  and women’s cross country teams are the same I have had the past 10 seasons,” Creamer said.

“Win the conference championship, finish in the top 10 at the NCAA Regional Championships, have the most first and second team all-conference members in the WVIAC for cross country, have individuals earn academic all-American awards and both teams to earn the team academic all-American award.”

Among those goals is the hope to defeat rivals across the state border.  “We have had a great rivalry with West Virginia Wesleyan the past six seasons [and] we always seem to have a little motivation when they are at the same meet we are,” said Creamer.

“They [West Virginia Wesleyan] have set the standard in the WVIAC for winning cross country championships.  Anytime you can beat a program like that it helps with the teams confidence.

West Virginia Wesleyan isn’t the only team the Griffins are looking to beat.

“Wheeling Jesuit is the defending men’s conference champions so that will be motivation enough for our men’s team and Concord is the defending women’s WVIAC champions.  Even though most of our men and women didn’t compete against them last year our upperclassmen will quickly tell them all they need to know,” Creamer said.

Both teams take the course next on Friday at the National Catholic Invitational.

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