The Springfield College men’s cross country team ended their 2016 campaign only losing one senior, putting them at a strong advantage for the 2017 season. They have come into this season loaded with upperclassmen lead by seniors Johnny O’Hanlon and Jack Pinho. With experienced runners and four new freshmen, they’ve already brought a new feel to the team and given it depth for the upcoming meets.
“The team looks awesome. We were fortunate to only lose one senior and bring in four really solid freshman,” said Pinho. Despite a small incoming class, the senior added, “They have already filled big shoes on the team and have created a presence of their own.”
O’Hanlon agreed and added, “With the right attitude and some good training, the sky’s the limit for them and the future of the program.”
After the Springfield team took second place out of the 10 teams competing in the Ramapo Season Opener at Deer Path Park on September 1, this season looks to be very promising for the Pride.
With the exception of two meets, the Pride were unable to finish higher than eighth place throughout last season. However, new faces and new leaders make for a much stronger team this season. O’Hanlon and Pinho both have very high hopes for this young squad, even at the regional level.
“My expectations for this year are to bring us to a top three finish in the NEWMAC and place all conference again. I think we have the talent this year to make some noise not only in the conference, but in the region as well,” O’Hanlon said confidently.
The new faces on the men’s cross-country team bring new skill sets for each race. With four very talented freshmen joining the Pride, the chance to stand out is now. While O’Hanlon and Pinho remain the top dogs for now, each freshmen could make a splash throughout the season.
“I don’t know if I can single out a single new runner this year. The freshmen class as a whole is very deep and talented, along with some new additions like [sophomore] Johnny Poitras who did cross country for the first time this year and has shown a lot of potential,” O’Hanlon said.
Potential will only go as far as the work ethic will let it, and both leaders of this team realize how hard all the new runners work. If anything, it won’t just be one young star, it’ll be four.
Not providing points for your team during meets can make a runner either not want to try as much, or work even harder to make a difference. It doesn’t all come at once, but overtime the results will show if the work is put in. Pinho believes there’s a few runners who could have a great year coming up.
“A new runner to watch this year in my eyes is Tyler Cronin. He has an unbelievable work ethic and has come a very long way from his freshman year. His passion and perseverance is key for the underclassmen to follow,” Pinho said.
As well as working hard, Pinho notes how Cronin’s passion and mental conditioning is something everyone should follow. Cronin brings an extra life to the cross country team that not only Pinho, but O’Hanlon sees as well.
“I think the whole team is ready for a breakout season. We’ve put in a lot of miles this summer and some tough workouts. We’re ready to attack whatever course we run at,” O’Hanlon said.
After the Pride set the tone in their first meet, they are ready to take not only the conference, but also the region under the leadership of O’Hanlon and Pinho. Their new workouts, leadership, chemistry and freshmen are ready for the season and will be back racing at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational on Saturday, September 16.