The University of Miami has two ranked men’s teams currently playing. Most people know about the No. 1 national ranked football team. However, most people do not know much about the men’s cross country team, the No. 9 ranked team in the South region, a team that heads to the Big East Championship this weekend with the potential for their highest finish ever.
“We have the best team we’ve ever had going into the Big East championships. This season has been a big improvement. We surprised a lot of people by being ranked in the South region poll by the USA Cross Country Coaches Association,” said senior Dan Boniface.
The Canes were as high as No. 8 in the poll a few weeks ago. Being ranked is very important to the overall success of the program because of the notoriety that comes with being a ranked team.
“Being ranked gives us more exposure and people out there are going to recognize that we are more competitive,” said Boniface.
The reason for their surprising success can be attributed mainly to the one-two punch of Boniface and junior Matt Mulvaney. Both of these runners will be looking to break the Miami Hurricane record in the 8 meter (5 mile) run at the Big East championships, which are being held in Boston, MA this weekend.
“Individually, both Dan and I will be running for the school record of 24:37,” said junior Matt Mulvaney.
However, in order to break this record, the conditions have to be right. The potential cold and inclement weather in Boston this weekend could hurt their chances to break the mark that they both strive to achieve. On the other hand, the course runs faster than any other course that the two have run this season, which means that both men could possibly break the school record.
“This course is much faster than any course we ran the entire season. The school record is definitely obtainable,” said Mulvaney.
As far as the team’s goals at the Big East championship, the ‘Canes have never finished better than ninth out of 14 teams at this event. However, this year’s team is looking to change that.
“As a team, we are looking for our best finish ever. We need to finish at least eighth for this trip to be successful,” said Mulvaney.
If they want to finish higher than ever before, they will need their younger runners to step up as well. That should not be a problem, as one of their youngest runners has been rising to the occasion all season.
“Alex Brutvan has stepped up big time. He ran 25:37 this year, which is great for a freshman. He is a guy to build this program around for the future,” said Boniface about his freshman teammate.
As if the ‘Canes needed anymore motivation, Nov. 1, the day of the Big East championships, is head coach Mike Ward’s birthday. The best finish ever by his team in the Big East championships would be the perfect gift for Ward.
“We should have a very good showing. November 1 is Coach Ward’s 38th birthday, so we are hoping to give him a great birthday present,” said Boniface.
You can reach Darren Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org.