Cross country team aims higher

Steven Losiowski

The cross country team is about to start their season ranked eighth in the country after finishing ninth at the NCAA Championships last season.

“I think we are going to be closer to the top than we’ve ever been,” said head coach Jenny Ryan. “Last year our goal was to qualify for nationals because we haven’t done it for 10 years and it’s hard to just get there. Now that we’ve had the experience of getting there, our goal is to get back there and move up.”

Junior Kameron Burmeister is confident the team is going to have another great year.

“I think we are going to be really strong,” said Burmeister. “We have a lot of returning talent and I think that we are really able to go far this season.”

Senior Jaylee Brown is one of only two seniors on the team and has been running cross country for NMU for five years. Brown said she uses her experience to teach the younger runners.

“We try to take them under our wing,” said Brown. “Teaching them all that we know and what we’ve learned throughout the years.”

Sophomore Abby Fifarek said the team has more goals besides nationals.

“Obviously going to nationals is the big goal,” Fifarek said. “[Another] goal is to keep building up and get closer to each other.”

With only six freshmen on a 26-woman roster, most of the girls have been running together for at least a year.

“We all know what each other’s capabilities are,” said Bermeister. “It’s more and more exciting every year to be able to work together and help out each other and push each other to be better and faster.”

The season begins Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Chris Yanni Memorial Invitation in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“It’s exciting to have a team that’s this good from Northern Michigan to be [among] the top in the country,” said Ryan.