Rich Davis is back for his 14th season as head coach of the Flyer men's cross country team
The University of Dayton men’s cross country team opens its season with The meijer 5K Challenge this Saturday at Indian Riffle Park in Kettering, Ohio. Head Coach Rich Davis took time to sit down and answer questions on the team and the upcoming 2010 season.
After such a successful campaign in 2009 what are your expectations for this year’s men’s cross country team?
The essence of our year round distance running program is simply constant ongoing improvement year after year. So, the expectation is to keep that essence of our program going and keep each runner on target to set a personal best time during the current season and continue doing that with each season of their eligibility.
What were some of the best moments of 2009 and how can your team build on those moments?
Really, the highlight of our season last year was at the Atlantic 10 Championships where we were the only team out of the 14 teams to have three runners place in the top nine. In addition to that we had the Rookie of the Year; and not only that, but we had the top two rookies of the year. We also placed third as a team, the highest ever in the history of our 29-year program. What we are going to build upon this year is to improve that place, but we do understand is that it is an ever improving A-10 conference, competition wise.
Would you say this is an experienced team, or more of a rebuilding year?
Out of our top seven runners we did graduate two, Mike Anderson and Matthew Peters. However, we do not in any way shape or form think we are a re-building team, in fact our whole program is a building program, a not rebuilding program. We strive to get every runner improving year by year. We get a lot of experience back, and also we are bringing in a great incoming freshman class.
Who are the leaders, and what do they bring?
Chris and Matt Lemon are our leaders, not only by performance but by example and their qualities of team leadership. They are the only two Flyers in history who have qualified for the NCAA Championships in their career. The team looks up to them for leadership and they look forward to providing that leadership. Right behind them are two returners who are very talented runners, Greg Roeth has proved as Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, and Jeremy Schiele has put in a very good summer training out West at altitude and he is right up there with Greg. I look for Greg and Jeremy to be right behind Matt and Chris Lemon. Nate Addessi was the second best rookie of the year in the Atlantic 10 last year. We have a good cast of characters including the four freshmen, so we have a good core five or six guys who can be the fifth man.
What are the goals of the 2010 cross country team?
The goals of our 2010 team are to improve upon a third place finish in the Atlantic 10, also to improve upon a 13th place finish in the Great Lakes Regional, we are looking to qualify as either a team or individuals with a trip to the National Championships.
How competitive is the Atlantic 10 this year and how does Dayton fit into the mix?
The Atlantic 10 is going to be extremely more competitive this year than it was in 2009. Richmond will be among the leaders of the Atlantic 10 this year, along with the top three teams from last year which were of course Saint Joseph’s, and UMass, who only beat us by only three points.
How will the schedule prepare you for the postseason?
Our September schedule starts out with meets at Indian Riffle Park, the Flyer 5K, and then we go to Bowling Green for the Mel Brodt Invitational, and then to Notre Dame. All three of those courses are basically flat, and what that means is that we are going to start off the season by getting our legs ready to turn over real quick and get some really fast times. All the teams in the state of Ohio will be at the All-Ohio Championships to start October, and then we go to the NCAA Pre-Nationals, and then the Atlantic 10 Championships. Those are championship-quality meets so we are going to try to convert the leg speed that we got in September into beating very good teams and very good people in October. Then it all culminates in the November Regional which is our qualifier to Nationals.