After placing third in the men’s regional final and eighth in the women’s last season, the cross country team will have to work hard this season to replicate last year’s success. 

“We lost some great seniors but the underclassmen have been working hard,” Head Coach Peter Slovenski said. He is hopeful that both the men and women will be in the top five of the region this year.

A major factor in the team’s potential success will be runners stepping up from last year’s season to fill in the holes created by graduated seniors. 

“Senior Marcus Schneider and sophomore Kevin Hoose have made a lot of progress and look like they will be top-seven runners this year,” Slovenski said. 

Additionally, Maddie Lamo ’14 and Reaha Goyetche ’14 will be integral in leading the team to success. According to Slovenski, they both worked dilligently in the offseason to be potential varsity-level runners this year. 

First years Brianna Malanga and Lucy Skinner have been “looking good in early season workouts,” Slovenski said specifically of his new recruits.   

He also mentioned his high hopes for both Jacob Ellis and Taylor Love, other first years showing promise in what he has seen so far.  

Helping out Coach Slovenski this season will be a recent alum, the new assistant Coach Elsa Millet ’12. 

After a career as an all-American track runner for Bowdoin, Millet is filling in for assistant Coach Casey Ellis while she is out on maternity leave this year. Once the workouts start in the middle of September, Millet’s fresh experience with form and speed-building drills from her track days at Bowdoin will be an asset to the team, Slovenski explained.

According to Slovenski, the challenges of a long cross country season make the players mentally tougher outside the scope of running. The team curriculum includes a lot of cross training designed to make his team better overall athletes in addition to better runners.

“The cross training adds a good recreational spirit to what we do in our training. Everyday we have runners who are swimming, biking, roller skiing, and doing other sports that complement their training as runners,” Slovenski said.

Captains James Boeding ’14, Coby Horowitz ’14, Greg Talpy ’14, Lamo, Olivia Mackenzie ’13, and Molly Porcher ’13 have already exhibited outstanding leadership so far in preparing the team for the season. 

“They will help lead the teams with intelligent training and discipline,” Slovenski said.

On September 15, the Polar Bears will compete at the Southern Maine Invitational. The team is looking forward to getting on the USM course, the site of big championships later on in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s great experience to race on the course that’s going to host the state meet in October,” said Slovenski.

 Across Maine, Bates’ men and Colby’s women are the defending state champions, though Williams and Middlebury have traditionally been the top teams in the conference. 

 “If we can get a win over any of those top teams, we’d be having a good season,” said Slovenski.