NEW LONDON, Conn.-The Coast Guard men's cross country team, under the direction of second-year head coach Ethan Brown, seeks to make an impact in both the conference and the region. The team is returning all of its scorers from last season and will be looking to move well up from last year's 4th place finish at the NEWMAC Championships and 15th place results at the NCAA Regionals.
Senior captain and All-New England runner Gary Ezzo is expected to be the team's top runner again. Ezzo finished second at last year's NEWMAC Championships and is the top returning finisher this year in the conference. Ezzo finished 24th last season at the regional meet and also set a new Outdoor 5K personal record of 14:52 while on exchange at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Three other top-30 NEWMAC Championship runners will be back as senior Ryan O'Neil and juniors Joe O'Connell and James Martin seek to enter the elite threshold in the conference as the Bears will be looking to move well up from last year's 4th place at NEWMACs and 15th place at NCAA Regional's.
Other Bears expected to make an impact in team scoring include senior captain Brad Pienta (16:05 Outdoor Track 5K), seniors Jordan Lee (1:54 Outdoor 800 meters), and Ryan O'Neill. Juniors Joey O'Connell (15:43 Outdoor 5K), Nick Foster (15:48 Outdoor 5K), Stephen Horvath (16:01 Outdoor 5K), and Jon Lash (15:51 Outdoor 5K).
The team saw progress throughout the course of last season, including the outdoor spring season on some high notes, according to Coach Brown, who went on to say, "the high notes could make further gains this cross country season. All the potential is here to have a strong championship season and to do that it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication on their part."
Returning to assist Coach Brown will be Greg Ahnrud and Mariette Ogg for their second seasons. The Bears will also welcome faculty representative Christopher Armstrong to the staff for his first season.
Whichever way you slice it, the outlook for the 2013 season is very encouraging, according to Coach Brown, "Coming into this cross country season, there are a lot of returners that are looking to make an impact in the conference and the region," which should lead to competition for spots within the team and against opponents as well.
The Bears will open the season on Saturday, September 7th when they travel to Northampton, Mass. for the Smith College Invitational. The men's meet is scheduled to begin at 11:45 am.