Entering his sixth season at Wilkes University, cross country coach Nick Wadas said he is excited for this season and the future of the program.
The men’s team hopes to improve on its ninth-place Middle Atlantic Conference finish last season, while the women’s team hopes to improve on its 14th place finish from last year. As of now, both teams are off to good starts.
Both teams placed fifth in the Cougar Classic Sept. 14. Senior Matthew Buono and sophomore Tyler Sutton led the men’s team as they both placed 24th in the meet.
Sutton looks at the early start in the season as a mean’s to build for the future.
“The team is looking very strong and has started off well. We are all working extremely hard together and improving,” Sutton said.
Junior Sarah Fillman led the women’s team, as she finished 21st in the meet. Wadas spoke highly among the captains of the team.
“They are individuals that have improved throughout the years and shown what can be achieved with hard work,” Wadas said.
This season, the men’s team added four new freshmen, and the women’s team added six women to the roster.
“Our programs are growing in numbers and the ability to compete every year, people forget that the sport started back up only six years ago,” Wadas said.
Men’s cross country started at Wilkes in 1979 and lasted until 1993. In 2008, both men’s and women’s cross-country were added as competing collegiate sports teams for Wilkes University. In 2008, Wadas, the former assistant cross country coach of Misericordia, was hired.
Since then, he has been trying to turn the program completely around.
“We have many freshmen who are constantly improving and show lots of promise for the future” Wadas said.
Both teams are looking forward to the MAC championship, which takes place in Center Valley, Pa., Nov. 2. Until the MAC championship, both teams have three meets left and are looking to get better.
The next three meets are the Desales Invitational, Gettysburg Invitational and Paul Short Run at Lehigh. They hope to improve themselves race by race, so that by the end of the year they are MAC champions.
“This year’s team has me feeling positive for the future,” Wadas said.
The cross-country team is filled with runners from four different states: New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Wadas said he is constantly working hard recruiting freshmen to improve the future of the team.