“Making their Mark”
The 2012 season was star-studded with records being broken at every other meet. It was a season to remember. There was a tradition of success and few fresh faces to integrate on either the men’s or women’s teams. “We knew that if everyone stayed healthy, we would have historic seasons,” remembers Coach Brian Yowler. Entering his fifth year at the helm of the cross country teams, Yowler has a new challenge on his hands in 2013, filling the large shoes of top runners since graduated on both rosters.
On the men’s side, graduating the best distance runner in Geneva history, Nick Edinger, creates a huge void that needs to be filled on the team. “Nick was not only the top runner, but the clear leader on the team over the past three years,” says Yowler. The #2 runner, Owen Struck, also graduated leaving another open spot on the men’s team. In fact, Coach Yowler sees all of the top five spots wide open and is ready to see who steps up in the beginning of the season.
Competing for these spots are seniors Charles Parker, Jacob Beschner and Christian Mijares. Their leadership will be a key to the success of the program this fall. There is also a new face, incoming freshman Ken Kutcel, who will look to make an immediate impact and is in the mix for the top spot on the team as well.
While the men’s team has a lot of questions to answer, the women’s team will be looking for some new contributors as well. Coach Yowler saw two of his top five runners graduate and one transfer from the stellar team who finished in second place in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in 2012.
Similar to the men’s team, there are some definite holes to fill in the top five runners. Though unlike the men’s team, two returners in senior Alayna Merkle and junior Anna Kluitenberg will continue to lead the way as standouts on and off the course for the women. “Because of their tremendous dedication to their training, they are improving dramatically each and every season,” says Yowler. “They both had impressive track seasons, so I can’t wait to see what they do this fall.”
Looking back on the 2012 campaign, both teams are building off of a standard of excellence while trying to make a name for themselves in the coming season. The 2013 season will not be filled with many familiar faces in the cross country program but it will be exciting to watch as fresh faces and returners alike step up to make their mark for the Golden Tornadoes.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.