LAKELAND, FL – Members of the University of Maine at Presque Isle Cross Country team are in Florida this afternoon. Most in the area would be jealous for the opportunity to extend their "summer" for a few more days, but for those student-athletes, this is a business trip as they prepare to run in the USCAA National Meet on Friday.
Eight members of the men's team made the trip, which flew out of Presque Isle Wednesday morning. Matt Forshey (FR, Scotia, NY), Sully Jackson (JR, Wilton, ME), Connor Hrynuk (FR, Booneville, NY), Mitch St. Peter (FR, Caribou, ME), Corey Hebert (SR, West Baldwin, ME), Trevor Levesque (SO, Presque Isle, ME), Saul Nunez (SO, Mapleton, ME), and Andrew Hunt (FR, Bennington, NH) will compete, and collect a team score for the Owls. "Our first three guys (Matthew Forshey, Sully Jackson, and Connor Hrynuk) will likely set the pace for us, and the other five will determine how our team score ultimately stacks up," said Head Coach Chris Smith. "These five, Mitch St. Peter, Corey Hebert, Trevor Levesque, Saul Nunez, and Andrew Hunt, have been swapping finish positions the last few races with all but one setting personal bests at the state meet at Bowdon College on October 17. Being rested should bring them all closer to the first three. It remains to be seen just who comes through really strongly to round out our scoring."
Though the women's team will not record a team score, three of them have made the trek south to compete. Sara Bell (JR, Unity, ME), Chenoa Jackson (FR, Wilton, ME) and Tabitha Taylor (SO, Ticonderoga, NY) are looking to perform at their peak in tomorrow's race. "All have had minor setbacks but are healthy at this point," said Smith of the three. "The 6K distance is not new to them as out first Bowdoin meet covered that distance. This will be the first nationals meet for Sara Bell and Chenoa Jackson, but Tabitha Taylor ran that meet in Syracuse, NY last year as a member of the SUNY-Canton team."
The forecast calls for conditions that are not typical of an Owls Cross Country meet which may challenge the runners, but it didn't seem to worry Coach Smith too much. "The weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high 80s with 70% humidity, which will be a challenge. With the women running at 10am and the men at 11am we should avoid the more extreme conditions of the day."
The team will return to Presque Isle on Saturday. Results will be posted as soon as possible.