COLUMBUS, Ohio – Under the guidance of fifth year head coach Dustin Iacovone, the men's and women's cross country teams feature a combined eight runners, mostly from central Ohio.
According to Iacovone, this season is a new beginning, with five newcomers joining a trio of returners. For the men's team, Iacovone looks to Kyle Roach, Dylan Williams, and Nickolas Caiazza to provide the leadership and support to the first-year runners.
Kyle Roach headlines the returners after a successful freshman campaign. "He looks great this pre-season," said Iacovone. "He has been running well and has the potential to medal at the national meet. Kyle and I have set high expectations for the season and the way he is running I am excited to see where he ends up in November."
"Dylan Williams has been running strong in the pre-season," Iacovone said. "He is further ahead this year than this time last year. He is looking to be our number 2 or 3 runner and has embraced his role as a leader."
Nickolas Caiazza has also looked good this pre-season. "He seems more confident and wants to take this team to the next level," said Iacovone.
Iacovone is also impressed with the incoming student-athletes. The freshmen have greatly improved from the first day of practice.
Bryce Hanson stood out at the tryout. "He was running with the sophomores and has put himself in a position to push Dylan for the number 2 spot."
According to Iacovone, Demitri Lowry had a great summer of running. "I watched him at a high school meet this spring and I was impressed by his speed. He's fast and I'm excited to watch him in the last 400 meters of a race."
Jeremy Amaro-Laureano was a late addition to the team and has been consistent throughout the pre-season. "He's run well and has continued to improve each week," Iacovone said.
Josiah Schooler rounds out the men's team. "He's a consistent runner with some impressive speed," said Iacovone.
The women's team while small consists of two dedicated and hardworking athletes: Marley Hogan and Emily Blenk. According to Iacovone, "Marley has a great passion for running and has improved tremendously from the beginning of the summer."
Emily Blenk is "one of the most focused and determined athletes I've coached,' said Iacovone. "She won me over this past spring during voluntary practices. A natural leader, I believe Emily has an opportunity to medal at the national meet. She leads by example and displays an infectious work ethic and dedication that I hope rubs off on the other first year athletes".
The Cougars open their season at the Bethany College Invitational on Sat, Sep. 7 in Bethany, West Virginia.