PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's men's cross country squad opens the 2019 campaign this Saturday, September 7 at the Monmouth Kick-Off Invitational at Thompson Park in Lincroft, N.J. Monmouth will host a SR./JR. race and a SO./FR. race, with start time set for 8:45 a.m.
Saint Joseph's returns 17 letterwinners from a season ago, led by two-time All-Conference runner Zach Michon. 31st-year head coach Mike Glavin has selected graduate student Tommy Higley, Michon and senior classmate John Walker to captain the Hawks this fall.
"Tommy brings experienced leadership as he was a captain last year," began Glavin. "Zach has accomplished so much. You'd have to watch his work ethic for that last four years in a row to know that he has put in the work commensurate with his talent. Zach has talent and Zach is fully willing to work to unearth all of that. You can't ask for more. A former football player, John brings a football mentality to cross country as an in-your-face guy, and sometimes that's good to have. He also brings you a person who can be crazy tough when that's what is needed."
Glavin shared more of his thoughts on the upcoming season with SJUHawks.com.
What are your expectations for the squad this season?
Our philosophy this year is that everybody has to stay healthy and it doesn't matter how many races you ran before that, but at the biggest three meets - the Atlantic 10 meet, at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals, and at the IC4As - we need to have stand-up races from the people who need to be standing up. It needs to be the guys who are by age older and stronger, and then we'll take whatever else we can get. My expectations are that by the time we get to the Atlantic 10 meet, we will stand up and represent everything we're capable of. I think that there's going to be some surprise teams in the conference this year. Our goal is to be a player and a factor in what's going on at the Oatlands Plantation on November 2.
What meets are you looking forward to in the early season?
The George Mason Invitational (9/13) is for everybody who might get to the conference meet, so I'll predict around 14 runners who will get a chance to see the course. The Oatlands Plantation course is very challenging. It's real cross country. The Paul Short Run (10/5) will be our real season opener, where I'll take a look at where we might be able to fill in numbers 2-4 and 5-8. We care about that meet and we care about the Penn State National Invitational (10/18). That's a big affair, and we will be challenged significantly over a challenging course.
What do you like from your returners?
Zach [Michon] and John [Walker] will be the 1-2 punch and both of those guys are able to take on being a leader. Zach and John can be the top two, and the plus one is Bobby Hastie. He looks good and ran well at the end of last cross country season. When you have one guy, that's nice. When you have three guys, you can start looking at how you can manufacture a team around that. George Steinhoff is talented and willing, and if I can get him to the line healthy... Bingo. There's a guy that going to help us in the 3-6 spot. Matthew Scarpill, Ben Bunch, Josh Clark are in that mix and it never hurt you when Tommy Higley is out there, because he is a good leader and it's nice to have a good leader. Antonio Amaral, Colin Gallagher, and Harrison Morris are additional seniors that have come back in good shape and are training well.
What are your early impressions of the newcomers?
Our top two newcomers are Matthew Coffey and Colin Kane, who were both 4:17-4:18 runners coming in. Both of them have already gone by some of the returning guys in terms of their training, and I wouldn't be stunned if one of them made it into out top seven. They're going to have to work hard to make it, and they have talent. Those two have training that is going the way I'd hoped it would for what they did in high school.
Be sure to follow the Saint Joseph's men's cross country program on Instagram and Twitter and like the Hawks on Facebook. Fans can receive all of the latest news and info on the men's cross country program with Hawk E-News.