Cross Country Season Review
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - After seven long and jarring races, the UNCW cross country teams have concluded the 2011-12 season. Plagued by injuries and disappointment, the strenuous nature of competition played a toll on coaches and runners alike.
Once the season came to a finish at the Southeast Regionals, in Louisville, Ky., Coach Jim Sprecher and his staff only have a short period of time to look back and reflect on the teams' performance before indoor track season gets under way in early January.
"This season was frustrating, and in a way, we're glad it's over, so we can begin getting ready for track and field," said assistant cross country/track and field coach Layne Schwier. "We had a lot of high goals and expectations, but had to overcome a lot of obstacles, including some bad luck and injuries."
On the women's side, one of the team's best runners, junior Lindsay Ester, missed the first four races of the season and didn't compete until the Blue Ridge Mountain Open on Oct. 14th. However, senior Erin Brennan consistently found herself near the front of the pack and fell just one second short of being named All-Conference.
The men were led all year by senior Wil Zahorodny, who won his first career race at the Seahawk Invitational on Sept. 9, after four previous second-place finishes.
"We trained hard this fall, but had some unusual accidents and illnesses that affected the way we performed," said Schwier.
Moving forward, Schwier is excited about the performances of some of the young runners, including freshman Ryan O'Conner, who was one of the top male runners before a nagging hamstring injury slowed him down at the Southeast Regionals. Schwier also hopes the teams can learn from this season and use it as motivation for next year.