Men's cross country prepares to open 2019 campaign
The Holy Cross men’s cross country team gets its 2019 campaign underway on Saturday, Aug. 31 at a tri-meet with the University of New Hampshire and Providence College in Durham, N.H.
Head coach Jim Kavanagh anticipates greater depth from the men’s cross country team during the 2019 season.
“I expect a very tight group – different from last year, when we might’ve had a strong four and didn’t have a fifth that would close the gap enough,” Kavanagh said. “I think our strongest suit is that we’ll have a tight pack, and that tight pack could be eight deep, which is the best we’ve had in a long time. I fully expect that we’ll be able to move up at least one slot in the Patriot League. We’ve got three strong runners and two that are pretty close to that. So I think that tight pack is going to help us.”
Holy Cross will look to improve upon its seventh-place finish at last season’s Patriot League Championship, led by sophomores Joseph Leland and Corey Kumamoto, who had stellar rookie campaigns in 2018. Leland led the Crusaders at the Patriot League Championship in October with an 18th place finish, while Kumamoto recorded the fastest 8K time of any Holy Cross athlete last year, running a 26:06.8 at the Nassaney Invitational in September; he placed 65th at the Patriot League Championship.
“The confidence they built last year – not just in cross country, but also when both of them had outstanding track seasons – I think they’re coming into preseason hungry to show that they can be the team leaders,” Kavanagh said. “They certainly have the talent to be right up there.”
Senior Bobby Tuzzio was one of the Crusaders’ top runners a year ago, placing 61st at the Patriot League Championship. He led Holy Cross with a 34th-place finish at the National Catholic Invitational in 2018 with a season-best 8K mark of 26:24.02.
The Crusaders welcome seven freshmen on the men’s side: Liam Christman, Brendan Fay, Alex Kirchgaesser, Gray Nichols, Michael O’Brien, Kyle VanDermark and Jack Welch, with Kavanagh pointing out Fay, Welch and VanDermark as rookies to keep an eye on.
Select competitors will run at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 20. Holy Cross will race at the Paul Short Run, one of the largest cross country meets in the nation, on Oct. 5 , and the New England Championships will take place on Oct. 12.
The Patriot League Championship is scheduled for Nov. 2 in Hamilton, N.Y., while the NCAA Northeast Regional is on Nov. 15 in Amherst, N.Y.