Cross Country Teams Open 2017 Season Friday At Bison Opener
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland men’s and women’s cross country has shows consistent and measurable improvement over the last three seasons, leading head coach Amy Horst to make changes to the intensity of the 2017 practice schedule.
Horst, who is in her third year as the head cross country coach and seventh as track and field head coach, saw a maturation and confidence develop in her harriers in 2016 and during the 2017 track season. With that in mind, she turned up the training rate the Greyhounds would face this fall.
“I thought it was the right time to add some extra preseason work,” she said. “I knew we had a lot of work to do, and I wanted to get that done before classes start. We went on our weekend retreat to Western Maryland and did some running along the C&O Canal. The teams has responded well, and I think that will help us all season long.”
Horst sees the upcoming year as one where the Greyhounds will continue to make strides and set new program standards. Loyola officially opens the year on Friday, September 1 by competing in the Bison Opener, a meet hosted by Bucknell University.
Both of the Greyhound teams are more experienced this season, yet they have promising newcomers to add to the rotation.
“Most teams have a consistent order of finish,” says Horst. “I don’t think either of our teams will be that way. We have a lot of balance and depth, and we’re going to push one another.”
The women’s team has a solid nucleus of 10 veterans who are joined by four newcomers.
In just her first season as a member of the cross country team, senior Cordelia McGinn came on strong last season. She was Loyola’s top runner in the last three races of the season and she finished 30th at the Patriot League Championship. Just two weeks later, she was the eighth Patriot League runner to cross the finish line at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, and her development continued during the track and field seasons.
McGinn broke the school 800-meter record several times during the outdoor season and finished second for the Greyhounds in the event at the Patriot League Championships.
While McGinn is the only senior on the roster, the Greyhounds women’s team will also be counting on a group of five juniors for experience and leadership.
An improving distance runner who finished 12th in the 10,000-meter run at the Patriot League Outdoor Championship last spring, Christina Daniels was Loyola’s number two runner at the Patriot League Cross Country Meet in 2016. Mary Sutton ran 55th at the same event.
Junior Courtney Wallace will also contribute to the Greyhounds’ success. Wallace, who placed 91st at the Patriot League Cross Country Championship, has shown steady improvement, and Woods is coming off a very strong outdoor track season where she posted one of the best times in the 800 meters and contributed to the record-setting 4x800 relay team.
Sophomore Audrey O’Neill, who finished 66th at the Patriot League Cross Country Meet, is another member of the record-setting 4x800 relay team for the Greyhounds’ outdoor squad.
Ohlsson was an all-conference performer at Ridley High School in Pennsylvania. She also set school records in the 400 and the 800. Pugh is a product of Seneca Valley High School where she earned All-Montgomery County honors three times and graduated with school records in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs. A graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey, Ryan led the cross country team to a pair of Jersey Shore Conference championships. She was also a member of Red Bank Catholic’s state championship indoor track team as a senior.
Saffadi was Loyola’s top finisher in every race as a junior in 2016. He finished 29th in the Navy Invitational and turned in a 52nd place showing at the Patriot League Championships.
Miller is a veteran runner who was Loyola’s number two finisher at the 2016 Patriot League Cross Country Meet, finishing 78th in the race, his best showing in the Patriot League Meet.
Junior Alex Buchholz had an impressive sophomore season for the Greyhounds. He was among the team’s top three runners in every race last year, running 36th at the Navy Invitational and placing 83rd at the Patriot League Meet.
Another junior, Tyler Schoch, showed potential last year as Loyola’s third best finisher at the Navy Invitational. He also turned in an 88th place finish at the Patriot League Meet. Sophomore Sam Williams showed promise as a freshman before an injury compromised the end of his season, and he will make larger contributions this season.
The Greyhounds are hoping for strong performances from freshmen Peter Butler, Sam Miller and Brandon Rossi. A two-time all-conference performer for the Germantown Academy cross country team, Butler helped the team win the conference title as a junior when the Patriots finished second in the state championship meet.
A four-year letter winner in cross country and track at Bishop Walsh High School in Ohio, Miller led the cross country squad to three conference championships. At St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey, Rossi was an All-Hudson County runner who helped the Marauders win two County titles.
According to Coach Horst, the Greyhounds will be facing a strong schedule this season.
“We’re going to Bucknell for the first time for their opening meet,” she says. “Then, we are going back to Virginia next month and will run at Lehigh and Penn State (later in the season).
“I like going to Penn State; It’s a great course, and it’s a great setting to compete. Running these courses is going to be good for our confidence.”
After opening the season at Bucknell on Friday, Loyola will compete at the University of Virginia’s Panorama Farms Invitational on September 23. Just six days later, the Greyhounds travel to Lehigh University’s Paul Short Invitational.
On October 13, Loyola competes in the Penn State National Open. That will be the final tune-up for the Patriot League Meet at Lehigh University on Saturday, October 28.
Loyola will also run in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet at Lehigh on November 10.