Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 15, 2019

Cross Country Sam Barnard, Daniel Baker, Lucas Fontanez (Nick Rush)

Cross Country runners Sam Barnard, Daniel Baker, and Lucas Fontanez.

Photo provided by Nick Rush

X-Country Embraces High Expectations

Mackenzie Kopplin


Manchester University’s cross-country team has been one to watch in the last several seasons. This season will be no exception. In the HCAC Preseason Poll, the women’s team was ranked first, and the men’s team ranked second. This could be a promising foreshadowing for a great season to come.

Already this fall, Manchester has hosted the Hokum Karem, or a “relay” style cross-country race, on Friday, Aug. 30. “The Hokum Karem was a great meet for us,” said Coach Brian Cashdollar. “My assistant coaches, Coach Natalie Richardson and Coach Dakota Steele, did an awesome job with meet setup and making sure it ran smoothly. I like to think we put on one of the best ‘early season’ meets in the area.”

He went on to say that he thought his team executed their race plans very well. “Our senior and upperclassmen did a great job of following the plan and working on the bigger picture instead of being selfish,” he said. “It was a great team effort.” The Manchester women’s team’s top three pairs were: Wappes & Gilbert, 37:21.8; 15. Ewen & Lynn, 37:23.4; 16. Acevedo & Brubaker, 37:36.7; 18. The men’s team’s top three pairs were: Baker & Salazar, 40:40.5; 8. Fontanez & Walton, 40:46.2; 9. Barnard & Richardson, 40:52.4; 10.

Manchester traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, on Saturday, Sept. 7, to compete in the Calvin Knight Invitational. The women’s team placed 15 out of 24 and the men’s team placed 16 out of 24. Senior Hannah Wappes finished in eighth place with a time of 22:12.2, which is a personal record for her. 

Moving forward in the season Cashdollar has several key objectives for his team. “Our goals are pretty simple and might seem a little cliché,” he said. “We want to be the best Manchester University cross-county team that we can be in 2019. Our goals are for each athlete to accept the awesome responsibility of being a college athlete. That means that we have to make choices constantly that will lead us to becoming the best team that we can be when it counts in November.”

How will they accomplish these goals? “We work towards creating a team environment where athletes care about each other and hold each other accountable,” Cashdollar said. “The goal is to live your life like a collegiate distance runner. If the teams decide to do this then they will be very successful.”

The athletes were optimistic for their future this season. “I think we have a really good chance of winning conference again this year,” said Ava Acevedo, senior. Of her personal performance, she said: “I’m super excited because I have never been this fast before so I’m feeling dangerous.”

Senior Emily Ewen expressed similar hopes but added: “We aren’t quite where we want to be yet, but all of us seem to have our eyes set on some high goals for this season. I believe we can get there with some hard work soon.”

Spartan cross-country returns to action on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Taylor Invitational.