Cross country program is focused on improving

Brandon Gubitosa, Sports Editor

Men’s and women’s cross country coach Nicholas Wadas is currently entering his seventh season as head coach. The men’s and women’s cross country program has been around since 1979 but was stopped in 1993.

After a 15 year absence, the program was finally put back together in 2008 and they hired Nicholas Wadas, a graduate of Misericordia University.

While at Misericordia, Wadas was a member of the cross country team. He earned second team All-Pennsylvania Athletic Conference honors in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He was also a five-time member of the PAC All-Academic Team and was chosen as a Division III Academic All-American in 2002.

The cross country teams opened up their seasons Aug. 29, competing in the Misericordia Invitational. The women’s team was able to finish third while the men’s

team finished fourth. Freshman Cassandra Papp led the women’s squad with a time of 17:24.61 for 16th place.

On the men’s side, freshman Adam Davis finished 14th overall with a time of 17:45.35, while freshman Jordan Lindley finished right behind with a time of 17:47.95 that was good for 16th place.

Coach Wadas is not concerned about the team’s finish in their first race of the season as he considers it a “warm-up meet.”

“It is early in the season and I’m not that focused on how fast we are running so far,” said Wadas in an interview.

In the Colonel’s next race, the heat and humidity were rough according to coach Wadas as it affected runners for every team at the 42nd annual Dutchmen Invitational hosted by Lebanon Valley College. The men’s team was able to finish seventh, while the women’s team finished eighth.

Leading the women’s squad again was freshman Cassandra Papp with a time of 22:25 for 35th place. Following her were teammates Christine Klingel and Regan Murphy who finished right behind her with times of 22:39 and 22:43 which were good enough for 37th and 38th place.

For the men’s team, Tyler Sutton led the way with a time of 30:30 for 33rd place. While teammates Dan Lykens and Tim Jurkowski finished second and third for the Colonel’s finishing with times of 30:32 and 30:34.

Up next for the Colonels is a meet Sept. 20, where they will compete at the Dickinson Short/Long Invitational in Carlisle, Pa.

Wadas said his goal for the year is to improve.

“At this point for the girls our best finish is 10th place in the MAC, and 8th place for guys since they started the program back up in 2008,” said Wadas.

When asked about the development of the program here at Wilkes, Wadas said that “just having a cross country program doesn’t allow us to build as fast as we probably could of if we had a track and field program here. But regardless of that, even if we still had a program here it would still

take time.”

Lately Wadas has been getting more aggressive with his recruiting tactics. He calls it “expanding his horizons,” as he is looking to recruit kids from Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia.

He is not only recruiting by their performances in high school, but is mainly looking at what they want to major in.

“I don’t want to cheat a kid and have him leave here with a degree he did not want,” said Wadas.

Like all of the coaches here at Wilkes, Wadas always remembers that his runners are students first and makes sure that cross country does not become a big time consumption for them.

According to Wadas, “you can still do well as runner in Division III, there are many Division III teams we run against that have beat Division I teams in races.”