Cross country looks to the future with large recruiting class

22 new first-years calls for a balance between development and winning now

The aim for all coaches of any sports team is to produce athletes that can compete at a high level. This is certainly the case for the Trinity Cross-country team. Under the strong recruitment efforts of head coach Emily Daum along with assistant coaches Lauren Loeffler and Jeremy Daum, Trinity has recruited a total of 22 first-years onto the cross-country team.

Though the team has expanded greatly, with a total of 56 men and women runners, the goal of the coaching staff is the same as it always had been, according to Loeffler.

“Our goal is always development so we’re always trying to develop the runners we get no matter how fast they’re coming in. We’re always looking for them to get better by the time they graduate, so over four years we try to put a lot of work into designing a training plan for them to let them feel like this is a place to grow and become faster,” said Loeffler.

This emphasis on development has already seen success in the season, with dozens of personal records being set already. The weekend of Oct. 1, the team competed in two meets, the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and the University of Incarnate Word Invite. In one weekend, runners set 33 PRs across the two meets. It’s not only individual success, but also team success that has made itself apparent, including a first-place finish in the Southwestern Showdown leaving the team hungry to improve more.

Of course with a larger team and a continued emphasis on individual development for each and every member of the team, a busy schedule has emerged for both coaches and athletes. With only one more competition left before the SCAC and NCAA championships coming up in the following month, the team has stated its intention to continue its rigorous training schedule up till the season’s end. The coaching staff had already stated their commitments for the future and isn’t afraid to go all in.

“Since we have a large class, it just means we (the staff) get to individualize the plan a little bit more, and it takes a little bit more work on our end as coaches, but we absolutely love it,” Loeffler said.

The same can be seen on the athletes’ side of the team, as the energy for the upcoming events has grown as the season has progressed on. Recent history for the team is at a high with the women’s team finishing as SCAC champions in the spring of 2021 as well as being nationally qualified that same year, and the men’s team finishing as SCAC runner-up in the spring of 2021. With high expectations, the team has committed itself to a championship full of new highs in the future. According to first-year Sebastian Langer, the team’s motivation stems from the hopes of continued improvement for the rest of the season.

“We all know that nothing comes easy, and the prospect of improving for the rest of the season as well as track next semester, has kept us going on our training,” Langer said.

With a goal in mind and focus on the future, the Tigers are committed to continuing their intensity both on and off the course as the team hopes to go further than they have in the past. Their next competition is Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Augustana Invite. Their SCAC competition starts on Oct. 29 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas while their Regional NCAA round will be on Nov. 12 at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.