Entering the 2016 season, it was apparent that the St. Bonaventure University men's cross country team would be a very young squad, boasting 10 first-year team members.
What wasn't as certain was how those young runners would respond to their first seasons at the Division I level. As the team heads into Atlantic 10 championships Oct. 29 in Richmond, the results have been tremendously positive for head coach Bob MacFarlane's team.
"The men have progressed very nicely; we have a core group and are building a strong foundation for the future," MacFarlane said.
Freshman William Delaney has been at the front of the pack all season long, leading the Bonnies in every meet this season. Named Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week last month, Delaney owns three of the team's top four 8K times during the year including a PR of 26:48 at the Paul Short Run.
Fellow freshman Devan Cavanaugh has been on Delaney's heels as of late, pushing his teammate to the finish line. Cavanaugh's PR of 27:16 game at the Paul Short Run earlier this month.
The veteran of the team, senior Ben Collins, has been a steady contributor for the team all fall, finishing in the top three for the squad in every meet.
Collins and junior Ethan Kibbe, though Kibbe has missed the season due to injury, have been key to the development of the team as captains, MacFarlane said.
"Ben and Ethan have been solid as captains. They've really shown everyone how to behave themselves and how to handle the everyday routine of being a college student and adjust their time management," he said. "Those guys have been extremely good with helping our freshmen grow."
Sophomore Caleb Johnson has also progressed as of late, returning from a preseason injury to run his best 8K time of the year at the Gettysburg Invitational two weeks ago.
"We're excited in our young group," MacFarlane said. "We will go into A-10s with a positive attitude and mentally everyone is very focused."
The men's 5-mile race takes place at Pole Green Park outside Richmond this Saturday. The event gets underway at 10:50 a.m.
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