After a 2012 season full of disappointments and heartbreak, the men’s and women’s cross country teams sprang back into action at the
Baltimore Metro Meet, held on a steamy August 31 morning here at Goucher. The 5K course was full of rough terrain and slight inclines, and luckily the Gophers had been training on this course since their arrival at pre-season. The meet had both Division I and Division III awards, and both teams achieved a first-place finish in the Division III scoring, defeating McDaniel, Hood, and Stevenson. Towson University took home the women’s DI title, while Morgan State took the DI title on the men’s side.
Goucher athletes have been training for the season since mid-August, starting with a two-mile time trial on the track that clearly indicated of the Gophers’ future success. Both the men’s and women’s teams have brought in a large number of freshmen and transfer students that played huge roles in Saturday’s meet.
“I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far in practice, everyone seems to be in really good shape,” Coach John Caslin said, noting that potential of both team impressed him.
On the men’s side, the Metro Meet title was the first title the team has won since 1998, when they won the York Invitational. The top five men’s finishers were only one minute and 35 seconds apart, the true way to win a cross country meet, tying for first place with 41 points with McDaniel.
Freshman standout Anthony Lee finished first for the Gophers with a time of 17:46, good for third place overall. Although he says he was nervous for his first collegiate race, his teammates helped push him through.
“As a team, I felt we bonded during warm-ups and when the gun went off everyone raced hard and knew the plan of going after the McDaniel and Hood,” Lee commented.
As good as this meet felt, however, the Gophers plan is for the future. “We’re only at the base of the mountain. We want to reach the summit in November,” Lee said.
The women’s team took home their first meet title since 2011, a strong season in which the Gophers – many of whom ran at the 2013 Metro Meet – finished second in the Landmark Conference. The Gophers were led by the top finishers junior Katherine Currier, who later earned Landmark Athlete of the Week for her performance, and freshman June Chiango. Senior captain Katelynn Zidanic thought the camaraderie of the team was vital to Saturday’s win.
”There was good pack running with our upperclassmen, and the new runners seem to be fitting right in,”
However, like the men’s team, the women are looking forward to the future and a shot at the conference title. This was just the beginning, as assistant coach and alum Sarah Maffei said.
“This meet gave us a good starting place for the season and we should be able to continue this trend with the physical and mental toughness this team displays every day at practice.”
The Gophers’ next meet will be held at York College, where the women will be defending their title earned in 2011.