X-country team gearing up for big season

The men’s cross country team is expecting a successful 2003 campaign as they bring back four of the Hurricanes’ top five runners from last year’s squad.
Head Coach Mike Ward has seen improvement from his team each year that he has been at UM and has set the bar high for this season.
“I would like to win all of the invitationals in the state of Florida,” Ward said. “I’d also like us to be in the top six in the Big East and in the top five in the NCAA Regionals.”
One reason for Ward’s high expectations is the impressive preseason that the incoming freshmen have had.
“The first thing to notice is that we are extremely deep with six freshmen, two sophomores, a junior, and a senior,” team captain Matt Mulvaney said. “We’re extremely young but the freshmen are very solid.”
Mulvaney will be leading the charge for the ‘Canes as the only senior left on the team. In 2002, Mulvaney was the top finisher for the ‘Canes in five of the six events and then had the Hurricanes all time best finish at the Big East Cross Country Championships.
Although Mulvaney has even higher goals for this season, he has been hampered by a knee injury recently that could affect his early performance.
“We’ve been working on getting things better,” Mulvaney said. “I’ve had right knee and hamstring problems, so we’re hoping to resolve those as quickly as we can.”
Also coming back to the team this year are sophomores Alex Brutvan and James Mullaly, and junior William Bludgus. The three lettermen bring experience to a young team that has much depth.
Brutvan had a very impressive freshman campaign last year by scoring in every meet. He’s worked hard in the off-season to improve.
“One guy that has caught my eye in the preseason is Alex, as he’s been leading everybody,” Mulvaney said.
Two of the freshmen that Miami has brought in to contribute immediately are Thomas Berry and Seth Kampf. Berry had an impressive 10th place finish at last year’s Connecticut State Cross Country Championships. Kampf had a 14th place finish at last year’s Maryland State championships.
The other freshmen Hurricanes include Zachery Castiglione, Michael Fleischer, and Jonathan Scheiner. Ward is going to need a lot out of the freshmen this year if they expect to go far in the NCAAs.
Miami opened their season in impressive fashion on August 30th with the first sweep of an invitational in school history. The team took the top seven spots at the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish Invitational on Saturday morning at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach.
Leading Miami was Brutvan, who completed the five-kilometer course in a time of 16:30. Brutvan edged out Berry for his first collegiate victory.
Mullaly finished third individually with a time of 16:32 while Bludgus placed fourth in a time of 16:33. Castiglione finished fifth to complete the sweep.
Miami’s next meet is September 13th at the FIU Invitational.