Moraine Valley cross country high on depth
September 25, 2013 12:20PM
Updated: October 30, 2013 6:12AM
Despite returning only two runners from 2012’s team, including a national qualifier, the Moraine Valley Community College men’s cross country team isn’t figuring on losing a step.
They’re counting on gaining a few that could lead to titles down the road.
“This will be one of the deepest teams we have had at Moraine Valley in a long time,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer, who is in his 14th season at the helm.
“The guys remind me a lot of our last two national championship-qualifying teams.”
What those two teams had in common was a pack mentality, and Horstmeyer said he sees that as the Cyclones’ strength for the 2013 season.
“The guys coming out of high school all ran pretty similar times, and many of them ran against each other for several years so they’re familiar with each other,” he said.
“Even though they competed against each other in high school, they now have a common goal and are working together because they know that will produce success.”
Returning from the 2012 squad is Thomas Cira (Brother Rice High School in Chicago), who competed in the NJCAA Division I championship in November at Rend Lake College in Ina, Ill.
“We expect big things from Thomas this year, but it’s nothing he can’t shoulder,” Horstmeyer said.
“He wants to improve, and his experience from racing at the college level a year ago will be one of his assets.”
Also returning is Sergio Villarreal (St. Laurence High School in Burbank), who had to battle injuries in 2012.
“Sergio was hampered by leg issues, but he’s healthy this year so if he continues to work hard, he’ll contribute to any success we have during the championship season,” Horstmeyer said.
Leading the new group is Zach Butera (Sandburg High School in Orland Park and Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.), who was a solid runner for the Carthage cross country team.
Big things are also expected from Dawid Palac (Reavis High School in Burbank), Alejandro Montes and Jesus Rojas (both from Eisenhower High School in Blue Island), Anthony and Justin Briante (both from Evergreen Park High School), Brandon Ceh (Evergreen Park High School), Ryan Dovgin (Andrew High School in Tinley Park) and Anton Thauer (St. Rita High School in Chicago).
“All in all, we’re really excited about the season and for the guys to achieve a lot of success,” Horstmeyer said.
“We have a long ways to go, but I think the journey will be fun and rewarding.”