2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – It has been an exciting last couple seasons for the Wesleyan University men's cross country team.
The Cardinals qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship in 2015, finishing 11th within the nation in Oshkosh, Wis. In 2016, Will Dudek '17 qualified on the individual side for the national championship, grabbing 49th-place honors out of 278 runners in Louisville, Ky.
Wesleyan will look to continue its presence in the national spotlight during the 2017 fall season, which begins on Friday at the Wesleyan Invitational in Middletown, Conn.
The Cardinals, who also reached the NCAA Championship in 2005 and 2006 under 18th-year head coach John Crooke, have 12 returning runners and four newcomers. Crooke has also added Scott Bushey, a 2015 Springfield College graduate, to his coaching staff, while Lindsay Holmes returns for her fifth season as an assistant.
The Cardinals will compete at the Paul Short Run (Sept. 29) in Bethlehem, Pa., the Little Three (Oct. 14) in Williamstown, Mass., and the NESCAC Championship (Oct. 28) in New Gloucester, Maine. The NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship is set for Nov. 11 in Gorham, Maine, and the NCAA Championship will take place on Nov. 18 in Elsah, Ill.
Wesleyan only lost two seniors from the 2016 team, but the impact that Dudek and Reid Hawkins '17 had on the cross country program go above and beyond what is expected out of two individuals.
Dudek was the Cardinals' top-performer in all five meets last season and finished in the top-10 overall five times. The Montclair, N.J. native finished eighth overall at the New England Regional Championship and 10th at the conference championship. Hawkins finished in Wesleyan's top-four on four occasions, including being the team's second-place performer twice.
MEET THE TEAM
- The returners for Wesleyan include seniors Connor Cobb, Tate Knight and John Henry Vansant, juniors Shota Nakamura, Josh Signore and Frank Tucci, and sophomores Williams Bajohr, Noah Langat, Adam Linsky, Kevin McMorrow, Conner Sexton and Grant van Inwegen.
- Knight compiled an outstanding 2016 season, finishing in the team's top-three five times, as he compiled a 26th-place performance at the NESCAC Championship and a 30th-place showing at the New England Regional Championship. McMorrow cracked Wesleyan's top-five four times, placing 29th overall at the Little Three. Nakamura was the squad's fourth-place performer twice, and Cobb was the fifth-place finisher for the Cardinals on two occasions.
- Signore placed fifth overall at the Wesleyan Invitational and was the squad's fourth-place performer at the Paul Short Run last season. Bajohr was the fifth Cardinal to cross the finish line at the Little Three, placing 40th overall.
- Wesleyan is thrilled to welcome freshmen Benjamin Cahill, Tommy Doyle, Matt Frishkoff and Nathan Gamble to the program.
HEAD COACH JOHN CROOKE
"The success of our men's team will depend heavily on the development of our sophomore class. The early-season results are very encouraging."