NORTON, MA- When asked to define a successful season for the 2010 Wheaton College men's and women's cross country teams, head coach Paul Carr was candid in his response.
"A successful season would mean that the men and women are the top academic teams on campus," said the 12th-year coach. "It would mean that on the men's side we placed in the top three at the conference championship, and on the women's side we finished among the top two. And it would mean a runner or two qualified for the NCAA national meet."
At last year's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, the men placed sixth and the women eighth. Since 2000, the women have finished among the top two squads at the league championship meet six times. During the 2009 NCAA New England Championship, the women took 24th and the men 28th.
"A term I carry with me is that people are going to rise to the level of expectation," added Carr, "so if you keep a low level of expectation you're going to get low results. People are going to rise to the level you set. May as well shoot for the stars and if you hit the moon that's still pretty good."
In order to see improvement this season, Carr believes his squads must run more as a pack. "We need to keep our scoring runners together," he said. "When we see one, we need to see five. If we can keep the gap between the first and fifth runners around 30 seconds, then we should be successful. That's what we're working on early in the season, and that's what we'll concentrate on during the meets themselves."
Carr welcomes back the men's team's top two runners from a year ago in senior co-captains Colin Fahey (Waltham, Mass./Weston) and Nick Kacher (Waltham, Mass./Waltham). Kacher was the first Lyon to finish in all six of his races, while Fahey was second. They are joined by classmate Natan Levy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Pine Crest School), who like Fahey and Kacher are returning for a fourth year of competition. Levy ran in four races as a junior.
Sean Astle (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe) is the lone junior on the squad, while Jake Dunn (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty), Karl Mader (Northfield, Minn./Northfield) and Michael Richard (Chicopee, Mass./Holyoke Catholic) are preparing for their sophomore campaigns.
Erin Jaske (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Rock Canyon) and Christina Nelson (Cranston, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View) comprise the senior class for the women, with Nelson gearing up for her fourth season and Jaske her third after competing on the team in 2007 and 2008. Finishing among the top five Lyons during two meets as a junior, Nelson also served as one of the team captains.
The Class of 2012 consists of captain Savannah Geasey (Portsmouth, R.I./Portsmouth), Rachel Scavera (North Bend, Ore./North Bend) and Taylor Wills (Kinderhook, N.Y./Ichabod Crane). Geasey finished third for Wheaton at three meets last fall, Scavera was the first Lyon to cross the finish line in the last three races of the season, while Wills placed third at the NEWMAC Championship.
Three sophomores return for their second year of competition, including Savannah Moore (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh), Lindsay Petrenchik (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) and Elizabeth Urena (Maywood, Calif./Bell). Petrenchik finished second on the team during last year's NCAA New England Championship.
Rounding out the 13-member team are freshmen Lauren Andres (Branford, Conn./Branford), Rose Harris (Worcester, Mass.), Shosh Kruskal (Newton, Mass./Newton North), Josie Ryan-Small (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) and Hillary Wilson (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan).