ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Regent Cross Country program is preparing to enter its second year under head coach Morgan Goetschel and is determined to improve upon last year's finishes. With the solid group of returners and a handful of talented newcomers, RU cross country is anticipating a climb up the NACC standings.
For the men's side, Rockford brings back key returners Christian Devant (Winnebago, Ill.), Joe Werkheiser (Lena, Ill.) and Cristan Newton (Shreveport, La.). The three seniors should anchor the team in its quest to improve upon last year's results. Werkheiser is coming off a strong finish from his junior season when he led the Regents with a twenty-first place finish at the NACC Cross Country Championships. Similarly, Devant and Newton each had their best finish of the year during the NACC Championships. The two runners took forty-fifth and fifty-first respectively out of ninety-one competitors.
Another key returner for the men's squad is junior, Bailey Beard (Rockford, Ill.). Beard also ran well at the conference championships, placing forty-sixth and helping Rockford finish eighth in the NACC. Other important contributors to the team will be returner Nick Noel (Loves Park, Ill.) and newcomers Isaac DeLaRosa (Rockford, Ill.) and Carlos Flores (Elgin, Ill.).
"I really feel that with the core group we have on the men's side, this could be one of the best years for Rockford Cross Country in quite a while," Head Coach Morgan Goetschel stated.
On the women's side, lone senior, Tracy Wang (Lianyungang, China) provides the Regents with both leadership and experience on what is a very young team. Newcomers Elizabeth Lisenby (Kasilof, Alaska) and Erin Null (Rockford, Ill.), along with sophomores Elina Lynge Wagner (Hvidore, Denmark) and Allyssa Hobbs (Sterling, Ill.) should provide Rockford with a talented group of young athletes upon which to build the program on going forward.
"On the women's side this is going to be a growing year for us," said Head Coach Morgan Goetschel. "Tracy Wang will be leading a young crop of women to be the face of what Rockford University Cross Country will become."
The cross country teams begin their season at the Beloit College Early Bird on Friday, August 31 at the Kieselburg Forest Preserve at 4:30 PM.