PDT Sports Report
This is the second in a series of previews of the Shawnee State fall sports teams as the 2011 season gets underway.
SSU Men's Cross Country
Last Year: Four meet victories
How it ended: Fourth place finish at NAIA Championship meet
MSC Standing: Conference Champions
Graduation losses: The Bears lost seven seniors to graduation. Among that group were four of the Bears’ top seven runners, including 2010 MSC Runner of the Year and 2008 All-American Keegan Rathkamp, Marathon All-American Michael Owen, Chuck Wentz and Josh Linkous.
Key Returners: Although a sizable chunk of the team has changed for 2011, the Bears do not lack returning talent. Junior Galen Dills will contend as the Bears’ top runner. Junior Blake Wysocki and sophomore and 2010 MSC Freshman of the Year Brad Liston also return to lead the young Bears. Also returning for the Bears are juniors Brandon Brown and Eli Gerlach and sophomores Jeremy Anderson, Tyler Cone, Jeremy Hornick, Adam Schroeder, Jordan Selbee and Joe Stewart.
Notable Newcomers: Senior Derek Ryan comes to the Bears’ squad after running three seasons at Marian University, where he was a NAIA National Qualifier. Freshman Sammy Holbert was a four-year state qualifier in cross country for Unioto High School. Fellow freshmen Breydon Gates qualified twice for Belpre and finished 24th at the state meet as a senior.
Conference glance: The Bears dominated the MSC race last season and despite heavy losses, they could do so again. In 2010 SSU had nine of the top 10 finishers at the conference race and three of those finishers are back for 2011, including Dills who was runner up to the now-graduated Rathcamp. Georgetown finished second as a team despite it's highest runner finishing 12th. On the Tigers top three finishers, two are back. Third-place Campbellsville returns one of it's top two runners from last season as well.
On your mark: The Bears open the season on Sept. 3 at the Flyer 5K at the University of Dayton against a field of NCAA and NAIA competitors. The Bears return home on Oct. 7 with an eye on winning their ninth consecutive Shawnee State Invitational.