WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University men’s cross country team will enter the 2012 season with a young but deep team. In a sport where your top five runners that finish help you place as a team the Bison have 10 runners on their roster, nearly double the amount from a year ago.
Gallaudet men’s and women’s cross country head coach Mikaela Hudson enters her second season leading the program but her first as a full-time coach. Her new position is already making an impact with the cross country teams and the men’s and women’s track and field teams.
“It’s an exciting time right now, we are a young team yet very focused and driven as it relates to our goals both academically and athletically,” said Hudson. “We look forward to studying and training as a team. Essentially, developing as a team. We expect to have a strong year.”
Sophomore Chris Davis (Stillwater, Okla.) is the lone returner from last year’s team but is joined on the team by fellow track and field teammates Kelvin Lunn (Cincinnati, Ohio) and James Glenn (Wichita, Kan.). Junior Felix Ramirez (Anaheim, Calif.) is preparing to perform a rare feat at Gallaudet and play two varsity sports during the same season. Ramirez is also a defender on the Gallaudet men’s soccer team. Junior Evan Saltz (Coconut Creek, Fla.) is the only other upperclassman on the team.
Freshmen Ivan Alfaro (Yakima, Wash.) and Alex Close (Tallahassee, Fla.) will be two of the top runners for the Bison this season. The two bring a competitive edge to the program and have been leaders during preseason practices.
Freshmen John Horton (Vancouver, British Columbia), Jaddua Johnston (Henrietta, N.Y.) and Neal Matthews (Kent Island, Md.) provide the much-needed depth the program lacked last season.
Gallaudet begins the 2012 schedule in New Wilmington, Pa., to participate in the Fisher Invitational on Sept. 1 hosted by Westminster College. The following Saturday the Bison make the short trip to Westminster, Md., to run in the Green Terror Invitational on the campus of McDaniel College. GU will get a sneak peak at the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship course when they run at the Penn St.-Abington Invitational at Lorimer Park, Pa., on Sept. 15. The Bison close out the month of September in Neville, Pa., at the Dickinson Long/Short Course Invitational.
The Bison will take a week off before heading back to Pennsylvania to run at the DeSales Invitational on Oct. 13. Gallaudet will then make the local trip to Utica Park in Thurmont, Md., to run in the Hood College Open Meet on Oct. 20. The NEAC conference championship will be run on Oct. 27. If Gallaudet has runners that have qualified they will attend postseason races with either the NCAA or ECAC in November.
“I am looking forward to strong performances at the NEAC championships this season. All-conference is on our radar this season,” said Hudson.