Carroll Saints Men's and Women's Cross Country Teams Prepare for - News, Sports and Weather

Carroll Saints Men's and Women's Cross Country Teams Prepare for NAIA National Meet

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For the eighth ranked Carroll College men's cross country team, this season's biggest challenge has been less about their opponent, and more about staying healthy.

"Everybody has been from one time to another had some sort of injury, and that's sort of plagued our team," said Saints senior Lyle Pocha. "But I think that at this point everybody has been feeling pretty good."

"They've kind of been struggling with injuries, so they haven't really all put it together at the same time yet," said Saints head coach David Morris. "I think we have a lot of depth, and that's shown."

Last year at nationals the Carroll men finished ninth, and this year... Entering the race as the 8th ranked team... They're expecting to finish even higher.

"This year we definitely have our goals set a lot higher than that," said Pocha. "We would like to be up there, and just compete with some of the top teams. We're capable of some pretty cool things."

"Probably top four or five is possible on both sides," said Morris. "Once you get passed the top two or so it's kind of wide open. So I think where we're ranked now is pretty close."

The last time we saw the Carroll women was 2 weeks ago... When they were celebrating a frontier conference championship at Hickory Swing Golf Course in Great Falls. So... The Saints enter national's confident... led by runner of the year Leah Esposito... 

"It helps me gain more confidence," says Esposito. "There's a lot of good runners there so the more confidence I have the better."

Last year the women's team finished fourth at nationals... And they think they have a shot to finish even higher in only the program's sixth year.

"To come as far as we have from not taking anyone to cross nationals to getting fourth last year, I think it tells a lot about our coaches and the athletes that we bring into the program," said Esposito.

With the runner of the year, and two time coach of the year on the women's side, expectations have never been higher heading into nationals for Carroll... Where both the men and women hope to leave North Carolina with the best finishes in school history. 

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