By: Lauren Wolters
The young group of athletes focuses on growth and experience
The University of Findlay’s cross country team placed first at the Polar Bear Invitational at Ohio Northern University Sept. 4. Head coach, Eric Wymer, looks forward to his fourth season coaching the men’s and women’s teams.
“This season I’m most excited about building off of the growth from last year,” Wymer said. “It’ll also be great to see what this young team can accomplish.”
Senior Dylan Hunter said that most of the team is composed of freshman. “I am excited to see how they improve the team as a whole,” the student said.
Improvement is the focus for the upcoming season. Coach Wymer explained that both the men’s and women’s teams placed fifth in the GMAC conference last season. They are hoping to place in the top three of the conference this season. “Our goal of top three at conference is no cake walk,” Hunter said. “There are going to be plenty of good teams looking for those spots, especially with Ashland joining the conference.”
“It’s been two years since we competed at the regional meet, but similarly to our conference goal we want to improve from previous years,” Wymer said. “We believe we can definitely achieve top 15 finish at the Midwest regional meet.” The Midwest regional meet will occur Nov. 6 in Evansville, Indiana.
“Our main strategy to get there is to maintain health while increasing our speed and aerobic abilities.” Hunter said.
The men’s and women’s teams prepared for this season throughout the summer. Last weekend they went to Mohican State Park and stayed in cabins for a preseason camp.
“This was a great opportunity for our team to get integrated, talk about goals, and get some quality training in.” Wymer said.
Hunter added that the annual trip to the state park is great for team bonding and making memories.
The teams will have more opportunities to make memories and compete this season as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Last year the regional and national meets were cancelled. As of now these meets are still scheduled.
“Most institutions are requiring masks and testing protocols, but we have a normal meet schedule and are just blessed to have the opportunity to compete,” Wymer said. “In our constant changing world, we’re just doing our best to be adaptable and grateful for the opportunities that we do get.”
Wymer, Hunter, and the team are excited to take on this season’s challenges. “Every meet at this level is challenging, especially with such a young group,” Wymer said. “We’re just focusing on getting good experience and growing.” He added that the most challenging events will take place in October and November.
“We’ll be travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina to compete with schools from other regions who are national ranked,” Wymer said. “This will be a big test for us.”
The GMAC championship is set for Oct. 23. The teams’ next meet is the All-Ohio Championship on Friday Sept. 17 in Cedarville, Ohio.
“The conference is very competitive so I’m excited to see how we respond,” Wymer said. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there this season and seeing what this group can accomplish.”