With veteran leadership coming back to the squad this season, this group of Mavericks have their eyes on the prize.
The Maverick men’s and women’s cross-country teams are pulling their horns out in their season opener in Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow in hopes of setting the tone for the rest of the season.
Three months since Maverick track & field came to a close, the distance runners of the women’s track team are ready to perform once again out on
“I’m excited to finally race again. It’s hard being injured and watching others compete while not being able to,” said Josie Braaten, who is returning from a knee injury that costed her a lot of time participating in events last year.
The women return four of their top five runners, only losing senior Erin Baker, who was the top performer last season.
Senior Lily Paul is one of the top returnees coming off an all-conference finish in the 10K in track and field and is looking to be one of the top runners for the team.
“We only lost one of our top five girls and while we don’t have the same front runner, instead we have three upperclassmen that can take the reins at any time,” said Lily Paul.
Carisa Weyenburg, one of the top five returners for the women’s team, was recently ranked as one of the top athletes to watch in the upcoming season in the Northern Sun Conference in a coach’s poll.
The women finished 5th in the NSIC conference meet last year in Moorhead and are looking to better their postseason performances by reaching towards the goal of running at nationals.
“Our bond as a team is so strong and we all have the same goal in mind. Nationals is not an impossible task for us, and the visualization we have during workouts can help get there along with the talent on our team,” said Lily Paul.
On the men’s side, Austin Pasch was ranked as one of the top athletes to watch in the NSIC this upcoming season.
“Coming off my best summer of training, a full returning team, the addition of some talented recruits, and (Chris) Rombough’s continued unparalleled training, I can say I am excited to see exactly how good we can actually be this year,” said Austin Pasch.
The men’s cross-country team finished 5th in the NSIC conference meet in Moorhead last year. NSIC 2nd-team all-conference runner Austin Yardley, feels confident in the season ahead.
“I feel like we are prepared and our team is ready. Rombough did a great job with our summer training so we can hit the ground running in our season opener,” said Austin Yardley.
As for the road to nationals, the upcoming seasons are promising for both teams.
“As to the ability of the team to go to nationals, I truly believe we have a team and a coach that can get us there. We need to stay healthy, push each other, trust Rombough’s training, and most importantly stay hungry,” said Austin Pasch.
The squad looks to generate some buzz early this season, as they take their talents to Sioux Falls for their first meet of the season tomorrow, with the collegiate runners scheduled to race at 8:30pm.
Feature Photo: Carissa Weyenberg running for the Mavericks during a meet last season. (Photo courtesy of msumavericks.com)