NORTH EAST — Perhaps no varsity sport in Cecil County has had more postseason success in recent years than cross country, which, over the past seven years, boasts three team state titles, multiple region crowns and numerous individual accolades from division winners to state champions.This fall, local runners will have the opportunity to continue their athletic careers at Cecil College, where the Seahawks have debuted a cross country program. The new team is highlighted by a four-race regular-season schedule and a roster featuring nine area athletes.
“We chose at Cecil to replace our men’s lacrosse and men’s golf programs with a men’s and women’s cross country program just because of the competitiveness of the high schools in the county,” Seahawks cross country co-coach and assistant athletic director Brooke Fisher said. “We’re hoping we can get that representation at Cecil College.”
Over the winter, Fisher, along with co-coach Taylor Minderlein, had two athletes sign up for the team. Over the next seven months, seven more runners agreed to compete, giving the Seahawks a formidable squad composed entirely of student athletes from nearby towns.
“We knew we wanted to bring cross country on. We knew that the cross country athlete is a different kind of athlete. It takes a certain type of person to be a runner. We wanted to take that opportunity as a department,” said Minderlein, the school’s athletic trainer. “As an athletic trainer, it’s something I wanted to explore, [to learn] this type of athlete, their injuries and such. I thought it would be great to be their coach and get a first-hand experience with them.
“It’s been a great experience,” she added. “It’s great because the kids are gung-ho about the whole thing, so interested and passionate about the sport that it makes it even easier. The whole process is a lot more fun and enjoyable to be able to learn something from them, but also teach them something and push them past themselves.”
The roster for Cecil currently features Perryville graduates Jakob Johnson, Hailey Lutter, Sarah Campbell, Gabriella Scramlin and Evan Martin, Bo Manor graduates Seth Edwards and Daisy Pfeiffer, North East graduate Sean McGowan and Kent Count (Del.) graduate Daniel Mitzel.
Lutter and Martin were the first runners that committed to the program, inking their intentions shortly after the New Year.
“Taylor and I don’t have a ton of background in cross country, but we’re adamant into exercise and we’re training together to run a half-marathon. That’s how we fell into the coaching role. We’re definitely excited for this upcoming season,” Brooke said. “We’re hoping that the runners we have this year and the success that they’ll have, it will get the word out about the program at Cecil and hopefully keep attracting runners from the programs in the county.”
The coaching duo has turned to their athletes as the team prepares for the upcoming campaign.
Cecil begins its season Sept. 6 at McDaniel College in the Green Terror Challenge and will run four total races at four-year colleges.
Other meets include races at the Goldey-Beacom Fall Classic Sept. 20.), Goucher College Cross Country Classic (Oct. 5) and the Hood College Open (Oct. 19).
The NJCAA Region XX and Maryland JUCO Championship will take place Oct. 26 at Hagerstown Community College.
“With Taylor and I not having as much experience in cross country, we’ve definitely asked for their suggestions as far as what kind of workouts were successful in the past. We’ve definitely done our research on conditioning techniques, running techniques and kind of the mechanics behind it, but it’s great to have our knowledge plus their knowledge mixed together to help them be successful,” Brooke said.