Miami’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have had a promising start to their shortened season.
Both teams finished in first place at a meet against Ball State and were runners-up at Bowling Green last weekend.
The MAC Championship will be held at Bowling Green on Nov. 21. Last year, both RedHawk teams received 12th-place finishes, but this year, they are hoping to come home with finishes in the top three.
Head coach Tom Chorney says training this year has been very difficult. Coaches had to create more effort-based workouts for athletes to complete on their own and couldn’t monitor if their runners were actually doing them.
“Half of the team did really well with that,” Chorney said. “And some of them really lost motivation when the virus was causing such uncertainty and are just now getting back into shape from that.”
Chorney said the team used the first two races as a way to “race themselves into shape” because most of the athletes are still gaining fitness.
One of the team’s biggest advantages is its strong front pack. Chorney said there are five men and four women who could interchangeably be No. 1 on any given day.
Junior Katie Vitiou took the individual title for the women at Ball State with her personal best time of 21:41.3. Chorney said she will be very valuable if she can run like that again. He also looks for junior Emily Akin to have a breakthrough race and be a strong competitor.
On the men’s team, senior Sean Torpy and junior Anthony Camerieri will be some of the strongest runners.
Chorney believes both teams have potential to step it up and fight for the top two or three spots as long as they can make it through the next 10 days without any COVID issues.
“I’ve learned the hard way that when I think we have a really good shot to win, we can still lose,” Chorney said. “We can’t go in too confident. We still have to show up and perform on the day.”