Idaho cross country and track and field coach Tim Cawley redshirted some track and field athletes last year and he said he plans to do the same for members of the men’s cross country team this season.
Cawley said the men’s team will be young, and that junior Nathan Stark from Capital High School in Boise, should be a bright spot in the lineup.
” … I think (Stark) has a good chance to be our frontrunner out there,” Cawley said. “I think Nate Stark is a talented kid. I think we’ll probably be a little bit down from last year but I think we’ll be setting up for the future very well.”
The men’s and women’s cross country teams start the season at the Washington State Invitational Sept. 1 in Colfax, Washington.
“We should have the majority of the team running and then we might have a few running unattached,” Cawley said of the first meet.
The Idaho men and women started practice Monday.
“We got some guys that are going to be redshirting this year so I think the expectation is that we go out there, we give it our best, we kind of see where guys are at in terms of their fitness and Coach (Cawley) will just kind of continue to develop us from there,” Stark said of the first meet. “The plan every time we step out on the course is obviously to represent the U of I the best we can and to run the fastest but early on in the season, I think it’s just going to be kind of a rust-buster race. We have a lot of new guys, about six freshmen and some of those guys are redshirting and we’re all at different levels of fitness as well. But it’s just kind of going to get them a taste of what college cross country is like. For the returning vets such as myself and I know Tim (Delcourt) and Santos (Vargas) are going to redshirt but I think it will kind of give us an opportunity to kind of go out hard again and a reminder for ourselves what the competition feels like.”
As for the women, Cawley expects Oregon State transfer Kinsey Gomez, sophomore Sierra Speiker and senior Valerie Mitchell to lead the team this season.
“On the women’s side, I think we should be pretty talented,” Cawley said. “Like I said we got Kinsey Gomez transferring last winter break there. She should probably be our frontrunner and then we still got Sierra and Valerie’s running really well. We’re running pretty strong. I’m excited to see what the women should do.”
Gomez is coming off of a stress fracture in her hip, which she struggled with when she transferred to Idaho.
“She’s pretty talented so you got to hope that she stays healthy and she’s working hard,” Cawley said … “I’m excited to see her out there running and kind of leading the team.”
Cawley is impressed with how Speiker has entered practice.
“I think she’s grown quite a bit,” Cawley said. “She looks very fit. She’s stronger which is nice to see and I think it should be, the team should work out to where I think we should have a good group that can run together and train together. But I think coming off what she did last year, I think she’s stronger and more fit now than she was last year coming in so I mean that’s kind of what you hope for.”
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett