ALEXANDER ROTARU ‘22 | STAFF WRITER • Wabash’s Red Pack has had a challenging year – from having a new coach, to being formed predominantly from freshmen, to having to endure the quickly changing, unpredictable fall weather, to having the team’s star athlete suffer a major injury. In spite of all this, they have managed to keep going and achieve good results along the way.
Many of the members have achieved personal records at regionals last week. “We’ve had John Kirts ’20, who battled some injuries over the years, and he came in really strong, he was 40th at the regional,” Tyler McCreary, Wabash’s cross-country coach said. “Joseph Deiser ’21 came along really well this year, he was a big piece that’s kind of offset Dom’s absence. At the regional we’ve had two huge PRers [people who broke their personal records]: Matt Bailey ’19 and Ethan Pine ’22.” Also, the team finished the race 13th, with only a 39 second gap between
the first and the last runner. At the NCAC meet at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Red Pack came in fourth, having five freshmen race there.
All-American Athlete of 2017 Dominic Patacsil ’19 got injured this season and was unable to compete at the regionals, which affected the Red Pack’s final result. “He was incredible [after he got injured], because he was so devoted to recovery and getting stronger and back to it for track, so that’s our focus for Dom,” McCreary said. “But he was an amazing teammate all the way through it, very posivite, he was there for everything to encourage the guys. He was a quintessential teammate for everyone.”
The freshmen, who form most
of the team, will have an easy transition to the Track season according to McCreary, since most
of them were middle-distance runners in high-school. “They’re really looking forward to running track workouts and having the lower volume kind of work,” McCreary said. “I think the biggest challenge for them is to come in calm and take it easy on the first workouts that we do and not to get too excited. It’s about doing the small, day to day things and not trying to hit a home run in one day, being consistent with the training, and not letting the excitement overtake them.” Most of them also will experience the challenge of their first 3000 m, 5000 m, and steeplechase races.
The team is eagerly anticipating the track season, as they are aiming to win team conference championships, to have members qualify both as independent runners and as relay teams to the NCAA, and to set the foundation for next year’s results. They are planning to achieve this through consistent training, that will increase in intensity.
Since all but the two seniors on the team will compete next year, the Red Pack has used this year to assess where they are and how they can improve in the future. “This year was not about overlooking this cross-country season and looking to the future,” McCreary said. “We wanted to achieve at a high level this year, but you also have to have the vision of what are we doing
this for. I think, for us, the specific team, especially when Dom went down, it was saying – alright, it’s not our time this year, but our time is coming for our team to achieve at a high level.”
In retrospect, this cross-country season has been defined by trial and growth, as the Red Pack is preparing to perform even better next year. Until then, let us cheer for Wabash’s cross-country team as they take on the upcoming season’s many challenges.