The Scarlet

New Leadership for the New Season: Men and Women’s XC

BU graduate now coaching cross-country at Clark

Sara Conway, Sports Editor

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This has certainly been a year of “new” in the Athletic Department. The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams received a new coach for this fall season. Former Coach, William Gray, left the team at the end of last year. The teams had a decent season last fall, and as they head into the new academic and athletic year with a new coach, the players are hyped.

 

This year the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country programs will be led by Coach Joseph Pike. He was a four year Varsity Student-Athlete of the Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field Teams team at Boston University. Ever since graduating, Coach Pike has devoted his time to coaching in running since he graduated from Boston University. He even coached for the USA Track and Field / Cross Country program from 2015 to 2018. In addition to coaching, Coach Pike is also trained in sports performance trainer in strength & conditioning and technical training of distance runners and track & field athletes.

 

Clark University is as excited to welcome Coach Pike as he is zealous to take the job. Coach Pike said that his goal to  “work with a collegiate program in the area where there is a quality academic and athletic structure” is what brought him to Clark University. While there will be challenges to face as a new Head Coach including, “learning the unique aspects [of] Clark and getting settled in”, Coach Pike is ready to dive right into the season and learn as quickly as possible. He has also found tremendous help in his Assistant Coach, Alex Hull (‘18) and his captains.

 

I had the opportunity to catch up with some of the captains this year on both teams and ask about what challenges they face heading into the season and what they’re looking forward to. For the Men’s team, captains Cameron Mitchell (‘19) and Ben Foreman (‘19) were announced as captains for this season. Coach Pike was not named as their Coach until three days before their first training, but the team did not allow that to shake their confidence going into the season.

 

Mitchell said that facing the fall, he was “looking forward to motivating new runners to push harder and harder… and hoping that most people get to break their records from previous years”. Both Senior Captains noted how their season started with one of their most difficult races, the Worcester City Meet. The Men had placed last at this meet under brutal weather and a tough course. Foreman also noted the disadvantage of how short the Cross Country season is saying, “if the season were extended a little bit, I think we’d shine a little brighter since it takes a little bit to get into ideal shape”. All that considered the Men’s team is looking to use these challenges as fuel and motivation for the rest of their season.

 

The Women’s side is headed by Junior Captain Nicolina Braccio, in her first season as a captain. The women took third place of the four teams at the Worcester City Meet, where Broaccio took the lead for the Cougars finishing eleventh overall. Braccio shares that lead spot with first-year Yana Zubarev, who finished close behind Braccio in the first meet and just ahead in the next meet at UMass Dartmouth. While Cross Country is an individual sport in some regards, it certainly is exciting to see multiple Clark runners placing so well within their races. Braccio shared in some of this thrill as well, noting that she was most excited to see the teams “meet to meet improvement”. Braccio hopes for her team to avoid or at least overcome illness and injury which has held some of her teammates back in the past.

 

If you want to support the Clark University Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, the two teams will head to the Keene State Invitational on Saturday, September 29th at 11:30AM. You can also follow their progress using the Clark Athletics Department pages.

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New Leadership for the New Season: Men and Women’s XC