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Men’s cross country looking to exceed expectations

Story first appeared on edinboronow.com on Sept. 2, 2015 and in the Edinboro University Spectator on Sept. 3, 2015.

Edinboro’s men’s cross country squad was a bit of a youthful bunch a year ago. The roster was composed mainly of sophomores and juniors, led by experienced senior, Matt Link.

That led to the men not gaining as many accolades as their female counterparts. The best part of it though, is that most of the guys are back again for 2015.

“The exciting thing is we only graduate two out of that top seven from last year,” head cross country coach Rick Hammer said. “Those guys that are coming back raced in last year’s national meet had tremendous summers.”

Hammer went on to laud his returning core.

“[Junior] Jon Gusew was our fifth man at nationals last year and I think he is going to have a great season. [Sophomore] Mike McLaughlin got to run in the national championship last year and I think the taste of nationals motivated him as he went home and had a great summer. He is a guy that is contending to be in our top-five this year after the work he put in, which I don’t think people would expect looking at his results.

“Corey Wefing was a guy that gets overlooked often. He didn’t get to finish some races and didn’t even start the race at nationals due to an illness, but he has figured that stuff out. Now that he is healthy, I think he will contend for the top spot with [Senior] Elliot Martynkiewicz, who is our top returner.”

Hammer noted that he is looking for steady improvement and success from them all season, but, “our goals are always pointed towards that national meet.” The 2015 national meet is set for Nov. 21 in Joplin, Missouri.

As far as the PSAC is concerned, Boro was selected third in the pre-season coaches’ poll. However, Hammer isn’t completely buying that slot.

“On paper we certainly are not the favorites,” he admitted. “Lock Haven and Shippensburg both have strong teams. I think those programs would be making a mistake and automatically filling us in for third. On paper we may be, but Edinboro has a tradition for exceeding expectations on paper and I don’t see any reason that would change this year.”

The Scots get their 2015 campaign underway this Saturday with the Doug Watts Distance Gala at the Doug Watts Cross Country course, located across the street from Highlands 2, at 10 a.m. That is the lone home meet of the season for Edinboro.

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