The Loyola women’s cross country team is coming off of an exciting 2017 season. Last season, the women’s team finished third, the highest finish the team has earned since joining the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in 2013.
This season, the Ramblers are hoping to top the MVC leaderboard at the conference race in October.
The men’s team finished in fourth place at the MVC Championship last season, but assistant coach Mircea Bogdan said his goal is a top-three finish.
Women’s Season Preview
Loyola is led by redshirt senior Lindsey Brewis, who became the first MVC champion in program history last year. This season, she said one of her goals is to repeat as MVC Champion and she wants a chance to run at the NCAA national championships this year after missing out on qualifying for the race last year by 15 seconds.
“I definitely feel like I have more to show at the MVC and more to show at nationals,” Brewis said. “I just want to continue to change the program for the better and hopefully inspire the younger people on the team and that they can do anything they can put their mind too.”
The women are ranked second in the MVC Preseason Coaches Poll with 88 points. Out of nine votes, one for each coach in the MVC, the women’s team received one first-place vote out of nine. Bradley University is ranked first with 99 points and the other eight first-place votes.
Although Loyola assistant coach Alan Peterson said he doesn’t take the preseason rankings too seriously, he said it’s nice to have the team’s hard work recognized by the other coaches in the MVC.
“I think [the poll is] just another driving force to them to make sure they are putting in the work to get better,” Peterson said. “We still have to come out and perform when it matters most.”
This season, Peterson said he hopes the team can finish in at least the second place spot at the conference meet, something a Loyola cross country or track and field team hasn’t done since joining the MVC.
This season, Peterson said he hopes the team can place second at the conference meet. Loyola cross country hasn’t won a conference meet since it won the Horizon League in 2012.
The women’s team lost five seniors to graduation after last season. Two of them — Emma Hatch and Cassie Bloch — were in Loyola’s top-five runners, according to Peterson. This season, six first-years joined the roster, and Brewis said she’s excited for them to be part of the team.
“They all have this mindset that appears they can do anything,” Brewis said. “We, as the upperclassmen, have talked about how our highest finish last year was third and we really want to win conference this year, and they just jumped right on board with all of our team goals and everyone is really driven.”
Men’s Season Preview
The men’s cross country team was ranked fourth in the MVC preseason poll with 51 points. Bradley — which in 2017 won the MVC title for the second time in three years — was again ranked first, this time earning all nine first-place votes. Like Peterson, Bogdan doesn’t put too much stock into the preseason rankings.
“[The teams ranked second through fifth] all have a good shot of being in second place. Anybody could be second or fifth,” Bogdan said. “I would say it is close to reality. We are going to challenge to secure the second place spot if possible. If things go well by then, why not try to win.”
This season, the men’s team has nine incoming first-years. Bogdan said it’s the largest class he has seen since he started at Loyola three years ago. Even though the 2018 season hasn’t started, Bogdan said he’s already preparing for next season.
“Everybody should be returning and we should add a few people before 2019,” Bogdan said. “I think we will see a lot of movement in terms of who is going to take spots in the big meets — conference and regionals.”
Redshirt junior Kevin White is looking to improve after finishing in 21st place in the 1,500-meter at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Last season, White finished 13th at the MVC Cross Country Championships. This season, he said his hope is to at least reach the top five.
“I think for me cross country wise; I want to become a presence in the conference and show up to races and really be a factor to contend for a title and win,” White said. “[The] ultimate goal is to win, but I don’t think that anybody who knows the MVC really well will put me up there with them, but top five will be a step in the right direction.”
Sweet Home Chicago
For the first time since 2012, Loyola will be hosting a meet. This year, it’s called the Loyola Lakefront Invitational. Both the women’s and men’s teams said they’re excited to get a chance to compete in front of their friends, family and the Loyola community.
“I’m so pumped. I’m so excited,” Brewis said. “None of us had ever had the lakefront [meet] … Everyone is just excited to race on the same ground that we train on every single day. It will just mean a lot to have everyone come into the city and have our school come and support us because we never get that.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to open their season Sept. 8 in Kenosha, Wisconsin when they participate in the Vic Godfrey Open.