ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Regents Cross Country programs enter into another exciting season as they return nearly every athlete off last year's rosters. With both teams rosters comprised of mainly upperclassmen, first year head coach Morgan Goetschel looks to continue Rockford's assent up the NACC standings.
Rockford brings back its top two male performers off last year's squad in Christian Devant (Winnebago, Ill.) and Joe Werkheiser (Lena, Ill.). Werkheiser finished the season strong at the NACC Championships and NCAA Midwest Regional. He posted a career best at the NACC Championships by taking 35th out of 89 competitors. He then followed that up with a personal best time of 27:48.6 at the NCAA Regional. Devant started and ended the season strong by placing near the top at the Beloit Invitational as well as a good NCAA Regional performance. Devant placed fourth out of forty-one competitors at the Beloit Invitational, and then wrapped up his season by posting a new personal best at the NCAA Regional with a time of 27:22.8.
The remainder of the men's team consists of a pair of returns in Nick Noel (Bellvidere, Ill.) and Cristan Newton (Shvereport, La.) along with newcomer Tyrece Ahrens (Kankakee, Ill.). Newton and Noel both saw their top finishes of the year come at the Beloit Invitational placing 14th and 18th respectfully.
This year's women's team features senior Jamie Buechner (Island Lake, Ill.), junior Lexie Collins (Earlville, Ill.), and sophomore Tracy Wang (Lianyungang, China). Buechner returns as the leading runner for the Regents, with Collins and Wang looking to help bolster the team. Buechner, Collins, and Wang all look to improve upon personal bests, which they each set a season ago.
"I am extremely excited for the Beloit Opener as it will be a great indication of where we are at both individually and as a team," Head Coach Morgan Goetschel stated. "It has been fun getting to know the athletes this summer, and I am looking forward to seeing how we match up against the rest of the schools in the region."
The cross country teams begin their season at the Beloit Opener on Friday, September 1 in Roscoe, Ill. at the Kieselburg Forest Preserve.