Alex Lutz –
On the heels of their great season last year, the Blue Devil cross-country team is starting out just as strong as they ended last season. In a recent United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) coaches’ poll, the Blue Devil men’s cross-country team found themselves ranked 20th in the country.
Stout senior, Danny Ressler, said, “Coming into the season being ranked nationally is definitely a confidence booster,” when asked his thoughts on being ranked so early on in the season. He said, “It also just gives the team more to do because they want to exceed their own expectations.”
There is an older and younger squad within the cross-country team and a ranking like this has the possibility to get to the younger guy’s heads. Danny said,” I think the only impact it has on them is that they have something to look up to.” Another Stout senior, Matt Lancour, said, “Try not to make it a big deal that we are ranked this early on and the freshmen know that.”
The formula for a winning season focuses on how to improve and not pay attention to the the rankings. Danny and Matt both said that by the end of the season they would like to finish near or at the top of the conference, make the trip back to nationals and aim for a top ten ranking there. Danny also added that he thinks that the team can end up with three All-Americans when the end of the season comes.
There is a new poll set to come out soon that will have the new coaches’ rankings after the Michigan State Spartan Invite on Friday, September 14. The Blue Devils finished sixth out of 21 teams that attended the invitational. The highest placing for the Blue Devils in the race was Mike Friedman who is coming back from a 2017 injury. He finished in 32nd place and was only 20 seconds off of his best time for the 8-kilometer run.
The team will have only three more meets before the WIAC Championship on Friday, October 27. This gives them limited time to catch up to other teams if they were to have a bad race. Matt and Danny are both confident that their guys will be ready for every challenge that they face this season, and both want to end up back at nationals again this season.
The Blue Devils next invitational will be on Friday, September 28 at the Whitetail Golf Club.