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Cross Country team remain optimistic despite conference meet date change


The Norwich University Cross Country team will have their annual Conference meet at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, this weekend, having the meet postponed from last week.

The Men and Women’s XC team are 2 of 22 NCAA sports that our school offers and is a program that continues to grow, with now 26 men and nine women on the team. The team even brought home the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men’s Champions title as recently as last year.

This season was one for the books for the team, with one of the six regular season meets as the first home meet since 1999. Coach McGrane and Gratton continue to expand the growing campus running community programming through a new fundraiser race, “Paine Mountain Trail Race”, running a community run with the local elementary school, among other events.

As with all Athletic teams, one of the pinnacle events of the season is the GNAC conference meet, and Cross Country Athletes have the goal of performing well at a conference set from even the week of Pre-season. 

Team members prepared throughout the season with practice Monday-Friday and even sometimes Saturday. Everyone was getting ready for the planned date of Oct. 29th at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, but plans changed. 

News had circulated earlier the same week that a mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine, about 30 miles away from the site of the meet. Robert Card, a 40-year-old Army reservist, was the suspected murderer, and local law enforcement was on the hunt for him.

Due to the proximity of the meet to the shooting and the runner still being on the loose, the decision was made to change the date of the meet to this weekend, Nov. 4th. The guidon interviewed XC team members to get their thoughts on the change.

From the team captains that were interviewed both of them seemed to be in favor of the change. 

“…It [the date change] was done for an important reason, ensuring the safety of the local community as well as our runners and that we are grateful to have the opportunity to compete this coming weekend,” said Emmerson Leach, a Norwich Senior and the Women’s team captain. 

“From my perspective, it was a smart decision to move the meet; we were at a high threat since we moved it a week later, and now that there is no threat, it is a perfect opportunity to go out there and race. It gave us an extra week to train,” said Nate Palter, Norwich Senior and one of the Men’s XC Team captains. 

Other team members also share similar comments on the situation, happy for the opportunity to compete in safer conditions. 

Judson Nash, a sophomore and Corps of Cadet’s Men’s Cadet Athletic Liason, also was in favor of the change “With Campionships set back a week because of the shooting in Maine, a lot benefited from the extra week of training and recovery. We’ll definitely be coming back even stronger than before” 

 “I think it was the right direction because we don’t want to jeopardize the safety of the team because, at the time, we weren’t aware of whether the shooter was in the area of the meet,” said Kyle Duffek, a Freshman team member. Dylan Ebers, a junior teammate, agreed with Kyle’s thoughts. 

These positive thoughts about the change will hopefully reflect the team’s performance this weekend, hopefully not only returning back to campus with another men’s champions title but the women’s champions title as well this year! 

All students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to go to, the team’s Instagram @norwich_xc, for more post-meeting information.

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