Cross country will not settle this season

The+men%27s+cross+country+team+gets+out+fast+at+the+start+of+the+Coastal+Carolina+University+Invitational+last+Friday.+

Ava Nadel

The men's cross country team gets out fast at the start of the Coastal Carolina University Invitational last Friday.

The new school year is upon us, and once again the cross country team is up and running. 

With nine new freshmen joining the returning members and their new motto “Never Settle,” these Quakers are ready to take on the competition this season.

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference ranked both the men’s and the women’s team eighth in the preseason poll. With only 22 total athletes on the team, head coach Danny Cash understands that this season will prove to be a rebuilding year.

“Our goal is getting the new freshmen group into the flow of the program with the upperclassmen, so everyone is on the same page as we matriculate into the season,” said Cash. “As each individual gets better and runs more competitively, then it will make the team better overall.”

The Quakers’ new season begins without Chad Norton ‘15, who currently holds the school’s records for both the 5K and the 8K. 

“Although we lost our top three runners from the year before, we managed to get to regionals,” said junior Quinton Simones.

Despte finishing 28th at the meet, the entire team was grateful for this opportunity to get the seasom underway.

The addition of the new first-year students into the fall season has both the coaches and older members looking forward to their improvement.

“We have appreciation for people coming in at all different levels and goals, so we try to make sure that everyone can reach their personal goals,” said assistant coach Kimberly Cash. “Collectively, everyone is achieving their best.”

Senior Trent Evans and junior Nick Reynolds led the men’s team last year with a string of very quick times. At the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championships, Evans finished the 8K in 28:58, followed closely by Reynolds in 29:12.

“My goal for this season is to give my best effort in practice and in races,” said Evans. “Running with a sense of purpose and drive is what I’m after.”

During the team’s first race at the Coastal Carolina University Invitational 5K on Sept. 11, Evans earned the Quaker’s best men’s finish with the 12th fastest non-Division I time in the race. Reynolds was close behind, securing the team’s fifth-place finish among all non-Division I schools.

On the women’s team last year, senior Rebecca Reyna and sophomore Sommer Fanney ran the two best times for the 5K, running 20:26 and 20:34, respectively.  On Friday, Fanney and Reyna appeared to be in good running form as they posted the top two times for Guilford at the Coastal Carolina meet, with Fanney leading the women’s team to a third-place finish among the six non-Division I schools.

Through their hard work and determination, these Quakers have already established a presence on the course. However, the bond this team shares appears to go far and beyond the runs through the college’s  woods or in competition during the races.

“As soon as I joined cross county, everyone immediately made me feel welcome,” said first-year Elisabeth Marshall. “I feel comfortable going to anyone on the team for help or advice.”

The family bond that the team has established has transcended the constraints of their short season. While they are putting in forty to fifty  miles of hard running in practice each week to bring down their individual times, they are equally as motivated to improve their team’s standing. 

“I have high hopes for us this season,” said junior Jonathan Sumner. “I think we all have someone we can work with this season to push us.”

The Quakers advance to Salisbury Park for the Chick-Fil-A Invitational , with the women running their 5K at 6:00 p.m. and the men running their 8K at 6:30 p.m. With “Never Settle” embroidered on their hoodies, these Quakers will not rest until they accomplish all of their goals.