The Drew Rangers women’s and men’s cross country teams have been performing well under the leadership of first-year Head Coach Zack Mower, who is also a Drew Alumnus. The women’s team finished 12th and the men’s team finished 13th, in this past weekend’s NJIT Highlander Challenge, held on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, in Newark, N.J. The women’s and men’s highest finish so far this season was in their first meet at the Monmouth XC Kick-Off where both teams finished 7th.
Both teams have just one more meet before the Landmark Conference Championships on Saturday, October 28 in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The Rangers will look to advance to the ECAC Championship and eventually the Atlantic Region Championships.
“I want to see dedication. As the hard part of the season comes into full swing I feel that morale is typically lower than normal,” runner Kyle Majid (‘19) said. “We are tired, beat up and exhausted. I want to see our team take the ‘bull by the horns’ and push through to a solid Landmark Championship.”
“Our goal is to not give up,” Lisa Rojas (‘18) said. “As much as this is a physical sport, it takes a whole lot of mental strength; strength to keep pushing during practice and to keep going during a race.”
While the veteran runners such as Rojas and Majid know what to expect in the closing weeks of the season, the Rangers are faced with a different challenge as Rojas said, “It’s been a little rough as a team because many of our athletes graduated last year and we have quite a few new runners, so it’s a completely different atmosphere, plus with a new coach, but we’ve been getting along really well, and the dynamic our new coach brings is nothing but positive.”
Together, both teams have three seniors in total, making the end-of-season grind even more challenging. While most teams are driven by results, the Rangers have a new mindset this year and have embodied this quality as a team:
“I feel that this year, the team is less individualistic and more connected to each other, especially when racing and during hard practices. As a team we have become better at working off one another and using the momentum and energy of each other to keep us moving forward. It is the first year on the Rangers that we have a true pack mentality when training,” Majid said.
Majid and Rojas agreed that the key to finishing the season strong is to push through adverse times. Neither wants to see the team quit mentally, which may impair their performance.
“The goal is to finish strong and finish fast. We have made such great progress week to week I would like to see our times still drop collectively. We beat Goucher last year and I would like to keep it that way, hopefully pushing another team down as well,” Majid said.
The aforementioned final race before the Landmark Conference Championships, the Cougar Chase, will be held this Sunday, October 15 at 11:45 a.m. on the campus of Caldwell University.