XC prepares for NCAA meet

Wesley Seyfang

The Ashland University Cross Country team is preparing to compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet on Nov. 6 which will be located at Evansville, Ind.

“I think I speak for both myself and the team when I say that we are prepared for the upcoming championship,” senior Ian Johnson said. “We are not really doing anything differently at this point of the season, since all of the work has been done. At this point, it’s just about staying consistent, and making sure we are healthy and mentally prepared to compete.”

Led by head coach Jacob Sussman, the Eagles came in seventh out of 10 teams on the men’s side and eighth out of 12 teams on the women’s side in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) Championship.

“Coach Sussman has put his heart into the team this year,” senior Tristan Vaughn said. “We were fully invested in his coaching abilities. Remembering your training and what you have done to have come this far arouses the racing spirit that lies within us all as athletes.”

Sussman’s athletes note how they are motivated by and admire their coach greatly. Without his coaching, the team would not even be in the position to compete at the regional meet.

With their entire 2020 season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had to rely on their coach and themselves to improve and be ready to compete in the 2021 season.

“I think this season has definitely contained lots of ups and downs,” Johnson said. “Not only has Covid been a factor, but also we have had key members of our team coming back from injury at different points of the year and so it has been a lot of work to get all the pieces to align. We are finally seeing those come together now and that is what makes me excited for our team and the ability to finish strong over the next couple weeks.”

Senior Ian Johnson paces with the pack in the Northwood Invitational. Johnson would finish eighth in the 6K in the meet. (PHOTO CREDITS: AU ATHLETICS)