2010 Rio Grande Men's Cross Country Preview
September 3, 2010By Mark Williams of University of Rio Grande
It may be impossible due to the fact that a very good RedStorm team has been riddled with injuries. Rio Grande head coach Bob Willey is not even sure at this point how many healthy runners he will be able to field this season.
"The wheels have fallen off," said Willey. "We were hoping that we would come in, everybody on the men's side ran all summer, they were all in pretty good shape and then injuries started to take place before a lot them even got here," Willey said. "We have to make some decisions on some, whether we're going to redshirt this person or that person."
"It's one of those, we thought wow we could have one of the better seasons we've had in years and I'm wondering now if we're going to have enough to have a team," Willey added.
Rio Grande was due to have a very strong team back from last year when they advanced to the NAIA National Meet and finished No. 21 in the country. Nearly all the runners were set to return and now it looks like the majority of the team could be headed for medical redshirts.
"We started out with 16, many of them are still training, we're doing alternative (exercises) with the pool, some are on the bike," Willey added. "They're still hoping to have their best season they've ever had individually, and if that happens then our team will do well."
"It's just not quite what we had hoped for, I think with our guys, we were hoping that we could put five or six under 26 minutes this year for 8 K, which doing that, we would probably for sure be a Top 10 team in the nation," Willey said. "Obviously we'd like to try to be top five, but now I don't know what is going to happen."
Redshirt sophomore Nick Wilson (Fleming, OH) looks to have emerged as the squad's top runner followed closely by sophomore Joe Taranto (Pickerington, OH), who will miss time early because of an injury, but Willey said that Taranto will run as the season progresses. Other returning runners are juniors Zane Miller (Grove City, OH), Lucas Murphy (Grove City, OH) and Bryce Wilson (Jackson, OH).
Junior Chad McCarty (Tipp City, OH) and sophomore Nathan Mogle (New Madison, OH) will redshirt this season and Willey has not made a final determination yet on the status of senior Matthew Spencer (Pickerington, OH) and freshman Myles Corcoran (Wilmington, OH), both of whom are a part of the walking wounded.
Also returning from last season are senior Kyle Hively (Vinton, OH), sophomore Kyle Goode (Racine, OH) and junior Justin Hartley (Glouster, OH). Freshman Dylan Roush (Racine, OH) joins up this year and will compete week one.
In reality the top seven (scoring) runners will be difficult to forecast at this point for the 2010 version of the RedStorm team. "Everybody has the opportunity to try to run at any meet," Willey said. "The only meet that doesn't happen is the All-Ohio, you have to pick seven runners, but when we go to a meet, everybody has the opportunity. When they shoot the gun everybody runs, like I said, we were hoping for five or six people to be under 26 minutes, we've got a few that will still do that, but in cross country you're only as strong as your weakest person."
With all things being equal Rio Grande was picked to finish second this season in the MSC behind arch-rival Shawnee State. However, with all the injuries, all things are hardly equal. "Like I said, the wheels just keep falling off," Willey said. "I'm afraid we're going to run out of wheels if we're not careful here."
The highlight of the schedule is always the Rio Invitational, set for September 25. This will mark the 40th anniversary of one the greatest traditions in southeastern Ohio.
The season begins on Saturday (September 4) at the Flyer 5 K hosted by the University of Dayton.