By Scott Eddy
Athletics Communications Director
At the most recent meet for the St. Bonaventure University men's cross country team, there was just one non-freshman in the scoring – and that was a "veteran" in sophomore Donavan Lowe.
The youth movement has been in full effect for the Bonnies this season, and it has left head coach Bob MacFarlane excited about the team's future.
"We have a very young team and our four freshmen are guys that we felt when we brought them in could be the start of our foundation," he emphasized.
If their performances this season are any indication of their potential, the future seems bright for the Bonnies.
Freshman Mason Kimbell has paced the squad in each of the past three meets, including an 8K PR of 27:13 at the Anderson Invitational in Rochester last month. Right on his heels has been classmate Nathan Prisella, who was within three seconds of Kimbell at the finish line of the Gettysburg Invitational with a time of 27:32.
One need look no further than Lowe for the possibilities for this year's freshmen. The second-year Bonnies runner has shown great improvement in his second season, posting his PR's this fall while working his way into third on the team recently. Another sophomore, Mark Vaccaro also has run in the team's top seven.
Among four freshmen and two sophomores in the top seven is the lone senior of the group in captain Levi Malone who is enjoying a career season this fall with PRs in the 5K (16:49) and 8K (28:11).
"Levi has been a great leader for the guys this season," MacFarlane said. "He's showed them the way, not just by his work ethic, but also leading by example. It is good for our young guys to have a solid leader."
What may be most impressive about some of the times turned in by the young Bonnies is the fact that most of them are running 8K races for the first time. In the case of Kimbell in particular, he was running with some of the region's top runners right out of the gate.
"Since Notre Dame, Mason has been our number one guy. He competed well against some top 10 teams in the country in the Notre Dame meet," MacFarlane emphasized. "But, all of our freshmen have learned a lot from our senior leadership as well as our sophomores who have greatly improved over their year here."
The Bonnies have had to run the second half of the fall season without sophomore William Delaney, who had led the team in every event of his career up until suffering an injury in September. Though Delaney will be out this weekend, two more freshmen in Luke Gobel and Daniel Janak will also be competing. Along with Malone, one other senior – Matthew Bacher – will be donning the Brown and White at A-10 championships as well.
Already this fall, the Bonnies claimed victory over Niagara in the Little Three Championship, then finished fifth out of 19 teams in Rochester.
"From the very beginning, they got a little bit of confidence at the Little Three with a win over Niagara," MacFarlane said. "At the last two meets, Rochester and Gettysburg, they've finished the highest they ever had. Now, the A-10 championship is going to be a lot harder, there are great teams there."
The Bonnies are now set for their championship season, competing at the Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday in Leesburg, Va. before running in the Northeast Regionals in Buffalo on Nov. 10.
For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get cross country and track updates @BonniesXCTrack. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.