Men’s cross country has high hopes for GNAC championship

Having goals is an important part of any team fighting its way to the top to become the best. But fulfilling them is a different story.

Norwich University’s men’s cross-country team knows a little about fulfilling their goals in the season. With Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships just around the corner, the Cadets have one more final push to ready themselves for their biggest race this season.

Andrew Pomeroy, a 21-year-old senior from Stafford, Va. majoring in civil engineering, is the men’s team captain. “We plan on running a good race,” he said. “Like Coach (Nick Cooper) said, if we come to play, we’ll win. If we don’t, we’ll come in third.”

The GNAC conference championship is one of the top meets the Cadets compete in, second only to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III National Championship.

The Cadets had to practice at a high pace, running 12 to 13 miles every other day to build their conditioning and mental toughness with the occasional two to three mile workouts to build stamina leading up to GNACs. But they used the week prior to recover from any aches and pains so they would be in top shape for the weekend.

Luke Moeckel, 21, a junior engineering major from Bradenton, Fla., agrees with Pomeroy. “With all the extra work we have put in this year,” he said, “and the mileage we put in during the off-season to keep us at our peak, we should do well at the meet”.

As coach Cooper heads into his third season, he has received nothing but good reviews from his team. as they have worked hard up to this point and will be defending the GNAC title after their first win last season. “With coach Cooper at the helm, this team is light years ahead of what it was my freshman year,” said Rob Gendron, a 21-year-old senior from Whitehall, N.Y. majoring in criminal justice. “He really knows what he is doing and I’m performing better now than I ever had before.”

As in most varsity competitions, champions are made in the off-season. William Martin, a 21 year-old senior civil engineering major from Hamilton, Mass., said he uses the off-season mainly to work on his strength but he does attend the required winter track team to help keep him in shape over the winter. “My plans are to try-out with the short distance squad to see if I compete better, but this being my senior year who knows what can happen, its really up to my coach” Martin said.

Moeckel says that the senior members makes up 33 percent of the team, and this spurred the freshman to step up and show what they were worth, with a lot of seniors leaving at the end of the year.

Moeckel will be the only senior on the team next season. He has stepped up into a leadership role keeping them motivated and working at top performance all the time. He noted, “being an upperclassmen we have more responsibilities than the freshman, we need to set the example by going to practice everyday, and be supportive on and off the field”.

With big goals in mind, the Men’s Cross Country Cadets have put in the work but will see if that work pays off this weekend when they put it all on the line.

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