Aug. 30 – TOWSON, Md. – The Goucher College cross country teams will look to make headway in a talented Landmark Conference in 2016.
On the men's side, the Gophers will look to a youth movement to try to obtain their goals during the upcoming campaign.
"We are going to be young on the men's side of things," commented 23rd-year head coach John Caslin. "Freshman and sophomores have a real chance to dominate our top seven for the upcoming year."
Of the nine athletes on the Gopher roster, eight are made up of freshman and sophomores, with four runners entering their first seasons at Goucher. Collin Clarkin-Wright, the eldest runner on the squad, will be looked to for leadership of a young and talented squad.
"So far in the preseason, Collin has been instrumental in leading the team," remarked Caslin of his junior. "Everyone has been working hard and open to trying new things, and Collin has been at the forefront."
As a freshman, O'Flaherty was the Gopher's top finisher at the Landmark Conference Championships in 2015, finishing 50th with a total time of 29:53.2.
"Sean is still growing into his talents as a runner," remarked Caslin. "It took him a little while to adjust to the college meets, but once he did, he was able to make great strides. Now that he has his learning curve down, we expect him to be more consistent in 2016."
"We are pretty excited about the incoming class as a whole," stated Coach Caslin about his newcomers. "Both JaVaunte and Jason produced solid numbers in high school, and we are looking for one of our young guys to break into the top 14 in the conference."
On the women's side, senior Jonelle Palmer returns for her final season with the Gophers.
"Jo continues to constantly improve, and her work ethic and effort are a great example for the rest of the team," said Caslin. "She is the perfect team captain because she does whatever it takes for her teammates and really wants to see them succeed."
Soliana Goldrich is the lone junior for the women's team. She was the top finisher for the Gophers at the conference championships one season ago, placing 25th with a time of 25:30.1.
"Goldrich continues to improve in every single season," commented Caslin on his top returner. "I feel like if she continues to challenge herself, and gets pushed by those around her, she can have a great junior year."
Sophomores Kelly Johnson, Hannah Brogan and Jessica Snouwaert, as well as freshman Nora Neely, round out the roster on the women's side.
"Although we are young on the women's side, we feel like the quality of athlete that we have on the roster is something that will bring success to the team," remarked Caslin. "We have a great one-two punch in Goldrich and Johnson, and if the remainder of the team can continue to improve, we will have a solid campaign."
The Goucher cross country programs open their seasons on Thursday, September 1 as they compete in the Baltimore Metro Meet hosted by Stevenson University. They will then compete in three more away events before hosting their annual Goucher College Cross Country Classic on Saturday, October 8 at 11:15 a.m.