Sports & Outdoors

The transformed Loggers’ men’s cross country team

The Puget Sound men’s cross country team is having a strong season. The Northwest Conference championship season began on November 2 in Spokane where the Loggers placed in (insert results).

The team started off their season with the Puget Sound Invitational where they placed first. Their last event was on October 19 at the Pioneer Invitational hosted by Lewis and Clark College at McIver Park where the team was ranked in fifth place out of 12 schools.

The team saw their best overall performance at this invitational along with Willamette’s Chuck Bowles Invitational at Bush Park. They performed their fastest times at this based on the high levels of competition as well as it being fast course leading the team to run their fastest. The team had their overall best performance at the Pioneer Invitational because they all ran in a pack.

Throughout the season the team was most looking forward to seeing how they compare to other teams. This is especially important when it comes to competing against Willamette, who is the rival team.

Junior Josh Seekatz (Philomath, Ore.), who started cross country out of curiosity and enjoyment of being active, has seen a drastic change in the team from when he first joined the team as a freshman.

“When I came in as a freshman our team wasn’t very good. We were at the bottom of the conference and really lacked leadership. The lack of leadership was mostly due to flakey people being on the team, they were just there to stay in shape, as well as injuries keeping people from practicing,” Seekatz said. “Last year we gained some new members that were also dedicated and looking to improve so our team started to find success and people began to greatly improve. We ended the season by placing third at the conference meet and were fifth in the region, which was very good for having an injury-plagued roster. This season we returned all of our top 7 runners except one person so we have had very lofty goals from the get go. Everyone is striving to improve everyday and the work ethic we have has been evident in our competitions.”

This year, the team has many crucial members each who contribute to the team in one way or another. There is a potential of five members to become all conference athletes this season. Along with this, Seekatz and sophomore Justin Bigelow (Highland Ranch, Colo.) have been listed under the all time top 25 list for 8k times.

While they have strengths within the team, the main weakness of the team is seen in the lack of numbers. The varsity team has only seven members, and the Puget Sound roster in total only has ten, meaning each member’s ability to compete is very crucial.

In order to be a successful team, effective practices and individual workouts from the runners are needed. While the team runs together, it is also important for each runner to go beyond the minimum. Practices consist of running a total of 65-85 miles per week along with interval runs, tempo runs, hills, gym workouts, and aqua jogs. Since individual effort is also important, Seekatz has his own method.

“I think the most important thing I bring to the table is my attitude. I’m very light hearted and try to have as much fun as possible during every practice,” Seekatz said. “I also try to lead by example. I try to maintain a strong work ethic in practice and I try to do all the little things that are necessary for successful and injury free season like going on morning runs, getting in the gym a few times a week, getting treatment from the trainers regularly, and sleeping enough. Maintaining a positive attitude about all of these things is critical because it’s pretty hard to remember that we actually enjoy running when we’re out doing a hard workout or waking up early for a 7 am pool workout.”

As the team has improved from last season and are down to their last two events, the NCAA West Regionals and the NCAA Championship, the runners have formed a strong and successful team.