By: Colin Gowin – Blackburn Sports Information
After finishing sixth place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in last year’s season, the men’s cross country team looks to turn things around and move up in the conference standings. The women’s cross country dropped in numbers and again doesn’t have the required five runners to field an official team. Head coach Mark Hopping, who is in his third year as Blackburn’s head men’s and women’s cross country coach, is had some promising things to say about his young teams.
New to the women’s team are freshmen Cierra Gibson (Chicago, Ill.) and Wendy Pocklington (Girard, Ill.). With the women’s team not having enough to field an official team, these two will look for individual success and hope to build a base for the future of the program.
Junior Elizabeth Meehan (Homewood, Ill.) is the last of the women on the team. Meehan is an extremely hard worker and never ceases to give it everything she has.
The men’s team will be lead by Junior Nathan Speckhart (Girard, Ill.). Speckhart had a strong season last year and things are looking even brighter this year. “The year looks good with him leading the squad,” said Coach Hopping.
“There are seven new members which I’m very excited about having. The future looks bright with the new members, especially with five of those seven being freshmen,” said Hopping. These six newcomers are: freshmen Noah Daum (Carrollton, Ill.), Jacob Callahan (Collinsville, Ill.), Zach Felkel (Bethalto, Ill.), Timothy Lacy (Jerseyville, Ill.), David Serrano (Carlinville, Ill.), and junior Colin Gowin (Pittsburg, Mo.).
The young teams will look to make big improvements from last season. “So far this year the team looks much improved from last year for the men. Women are down in numbers but I’m happy with the ones who are competing,” said Hopping. As the teams are gearing up for the conference championships on November 1, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in their first meet of the season on August 30 at Principia College, starting at 9:00 am.