Young talent paces runners

The GW women’s cross country team won its fourth consecutive meet Saturday, capturing the GW Invitational for the first time since sharing the title in 1997. The men’s team also had a strong showing, finishing in third place.

The successes show how far the teams have come since last summer.

As students began to arrive in Foggy Bottom for move-in day, the teams had already begun their year. After a summer of grueling workouts and an early season coaching change, the Colonials began what has been their most successful season in recent history.

As the team arrived a week before for pre-season workouts, coach Deb Kane announced her resignation, citing family issues. Brian Beil, a former GW assistant coach, was named head coach of the program. Sophomore runner Daniel Morgan expressed his hesitation about going into a season with a new coach.

“One of my reasons for choosing GW was the program in place,” Morgan said. “When I heard that Coach Beil was taking over, I was confident. He knew a lot of the athletes and the strategies and that was important when he took over.”

Before Kane’s departure, a workout regimen was put into place for the summer as the GW runners trained for the season. Looking to build on last year’s strong performance, the runners worked all summer on what Morgan described as a “tough schedule.”

The women’s team built on these workouts and began the season finishing first in their first four meets. Senior captain Trina Bolton partly attributes the success to the young talent on the team.

“I think everyone actually did the training over the summer and that really helps,” Bolton said.

The training has shown, as the Colonials captured six of the top 10 spots at the GW Invitational secure the victory. Senior Emily Jadwin finished second with a time of 19:38, while junior Lindsay Blum finished only five seconds later in fourth place.

Senior Mary Beth McCullough shared Bolton’s sentiment about the young members of the team, saying they have added to the excitement and enthusiasm. McCullough said her squad can go into the A-10 championships next month with a good chance of winning.

“We are really considered an underdog and I think that helps,” she said. “We are watching what the other teams are doing and keeping them as a benchmark.”

The men’s team also began the fall season in strong fashion, finishing second, eighth, first, and most recently third in the GW Invitational. Morgan was the best GW runner, posting a time of 27:27. His tenth-place finish was followed closely by freshman Christian Woodside’s time of 27:45, which earned him 14th place overall.

Although the Colonial squad boasts only one senior, Morgan said that youth is one of the team’s strengths.

“We are young but we are running really well and in the future, we hope to accomplish what we are looking for,” Morgan said.

The teams’ main goal is finishing in the top five of the A-10 Championships, being held Oct. 30 at Duquesne.

Looking to the future, the women and men’s teams could compete successfully at the A-10 Championships. The confidence that Morgan and McCullough exude is what the GW team has built its success on, after replacing a coach early in the season.

“We are both improving but I don’t want to make predictions about races,” Morgan said. “I think we have a shot at the A-10s and so (does the women’s team). We’ll just have to wait.”

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