Aug 23, 2018

2018 Cross Country Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

 
  • Eight NAIA Men's National Meets (5 Top 10 finishes)
  • Five NAIA District Men's Championships (1977, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
  • One NCCAA Women's National Championship (1988)
  • Nine NAIA Women's National Meets (6 Top 10 finishes)
  • Six NAIA Women's District Championships (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993)
  • One Cascade Conference Women's Championship (1994)
  • Two NAIA Region Coaches of the Year
  • 10 Conference / District Coaches of the Year
  • 23 All-Americans (6 men, 17 women)
  • 53 Academic All-Americans (18 men, 35 women)
 

By: Jake Bienvenue

NEWBERG --- The 2018 men's and women's cross country teams are deep, talented, and excited for the upcoming year. Young and with a new sense of direction, both teams will look to make their mark in both the conference and the West Region this season.

The program is spearheaded by John Smith, director of track and field and cross country, and Collin Cram, hired this year out of Oregon State University's NCAA Division I program. 

The key word for this season is 'excitement'. With new staff and a stacked freshman class that makes up almost half of the team, coach Cram is looking forward to seeing the runners compete against both in-conference and out-of-conference opponents.

"So much is different this year," Cram said. "We are looking forward to creating a new tradition of George Fox cross country excellence, and have all the tools to do so."

Both the men and women will return high-caliber runners this season and both programs were slated to finish sixth in the conference, according to the Northwest Conference Coaches' Poll. 

For the women, senior Maci Jokumsen, juniors Abby Bitzenburg and Amarie Miller and sophomores Helena Ducusin and Rianna Comery will all look to compete at a high level for the Bruins this year.

The men's team returns seniors Spencer Elmore and Josh Meyer, juniors Romare Ashford, Joshua Gibbs, Brendon Henkel and Rylan Larsen and sophomores Caleb Giesbrecht, Johnathan Guisinger, Jacob Hayes and Timothy Kaelin.

"I know our returners will be a huge force for both teams," Cram said of the 2018 roster.

Both the men and the women look ready to feature exciting new talent from their freshman classes.

The new runners on the men's side include Rashad Smith from Hillsboro, Oregon, as well as out-of-state additions Colby Harper (Texas), Dillon Rising (Washington) and Peter Weiss (California).

The women will add a slew of new runners to their roster. Amanda Bays, Emily Bruns, Breana Burge, Autum Franklin, Lydia Gronseth, Katie Misik, Emma Moon, Olivia Nygreen and Ashlee Van Den Top will all look to break into the top seven this season.

"At this point, we are trying to figure out who will be our top runners. It is exciting to practice as a team and get to know each individual athlete," said Cram.

Whatever the case, the new-look 2018 cross country teams will make their mark on the Northwest Conference and the West Region.

To see the full schedule, click here.

To view the roster, click here.