The 2011 Wheaton College men's and women's cross country teams begin their 13th year under the guidance of head coach Paul Carr looking to improve upon last season's finishes. The men's placed 10th (of 10) at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship while the women finished sixth (of seven).
Junior Michael Richard (Chicopee, Mass./Holyoke Catholic), classmate and co-captain Karl Mader (Northfield, Minn./Northfield), and freshman John Green (Quincy, MA/North Quincy) are expected to be the top three runners for Carr. "It's time for Michaass.l to put it all together," Carr said of Richard, who has battled some injuries during his career. "I think John is going to be able to help him quite a bit. When you add Karl into the mix, it's a pretty good top three. If they learn to work together during a race and run as a trio rather than as individuals, it will help all three of them."
Of the eight student-athletes on the Lyons roster to begin the season for the men, Sean Astle (Fairfield, Conn./Faiefield) is the lone senior on the squad. "Sean is a four-year runner who provides us with depth and senior leadership," said Carr.
Heading into the season with such a young squad, Carr says, "This is one of the hardest working team's I've ever had. I know that whatever we do, we'll max out. We won't leave the NEWMAC meet with any regrets, regardless of where we finish. This is a very dedicated group and we'll take things as they come to us."
Senior captains Savannah Geasey (Portsmouth, R.I./Portsmouth) and Rachel Scavera (North Bend, OR/North Bend) lead the women's team. "Both Savannah and Rachel are key contributors to our team," explained Carr. "They play roles both athletically and leadership-wise. We hope their experience will help our student-athletes run as a group of five instead of five individuals."
Carr added, "We have high expectations for some of our second-year runners, mainly Shoshana Kruskal (Newton, Mass./Newton North) and Hillary Wilson (Amherst, N.Y./Souhegan). Things should start coming together for them this year. With you add in (junior) Lindsay Petrenchik (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) and freshman Sonrisa O'Toole (Stockbridge, Mass./Monument Mountain Regional), we have a very solid top six."
As far as Carr's expectations for the season, he said, "I don't know that my expectations ever change. I expect us to go out, work the entire season to the best of our ability, and then lay it on the line in the NEWMAC Championship. We have some goals we have discussed. When we see them in action for a few meets, we'll have a better idea of where we're trending."