By Daniel Hill
When you run every single day for your sport, how do you keep training from becoming tedious and boring?
“It’s nice because you just have time to talk so you can talk to all the guys on the team and keep engaged on the run,” senior Ben Allen said. “Because if you run by yourself, like all summer long, that gets really monotonous real quick.”
Every team needs leadership, and cross-country is no exception.
Junior Brad Miles is an “obvious leader” according to Allen.
“A lot of guys are putting in the work,” Miles said. “I know our seniors are really going for it because this is their last year. They’ve put in some good work this summer and we can expect some big things out of them. The freshmen coming in, they’ve put in some good work. I mean, it’s going to be an exciting season.”
Last season, Brad finished in the top five in all of the seven races he competed in.
How can he build upon that success this year?
“It just starts with training hard over the summer and getting the miles in,” Miles said. “We have a great team this year. A lot of young guys are going to be stepping up so it’s going to be a struggle to get top five but we are all pushing each other to be the best that we can be so hopefully top five will be a real challenge to get this year.”
Assistant Coach Jon Capron also pointed to Brad as a leader but he also looked to other individuals for leadership and competitiveness.
“It’s probably going to be Brad Miles, and then, you know, I got a pretty good senior crew that I expect to step up,” Capron said. “It’s going to be close. It’s kind of how I like it. Anyone else on the rest of the team could my three or four runner. I look for Brad to be leading the charge, but you know it could be anybody’s day. That’s where I want these guys, I want them all thinking that they are the three or four on the team. If they’re all there, then we will be pretty fast. I’m excited about that.”
With the changes in the Big 12 Conference, Capron said that this year’s team is poised to take a step forward from last year.
“We are feeling pretty confident,” Capron said. “Things shook up in the Big 12 that I think are going to help us a little bit. We lost a couple of truthfully strong teams and maybe some of the teams coming in are not quite as strong on the guys’ side. West Virginia’s actually pretty stout on the ladies side. I think it’ll work well going forward. I think both teams are going to take a step forward on their own from where they were last year.”
Cross-country athletes have a particularly grueling schedule because not only do they compete in cross-country, but they also compete in indoor track and outdoor track.
Even over the summer when there are no races, the athletes are still training with high intensity.
“Whenever you see a kid walking around in a cross country t-shirt, you have to tip your hat to them because not only are they working for three seasons, they are also working over the summer too. They have to do a lot of work on their own just to be ready so that we even have a fighting chance come September, October or November” Capron said.
Everyone inside the cross-country program is excited for the season. “We’re all fired up getting ready to go,” Allen said.