Hurricanes look to rebuild as six runners graduate

leavin’ ‘em in the dust: Recent graduate Andrew Chuplis finished his career with two straight season-best times. Courtesy Hurricane Sports

After starting strong, the University of Miami cross country team continued to run a successful season.

Both the men’s and women’s teams placed in the top 10 in four of their six meets, including the Greentree, UCF, Mountain Dew and the Florida Runner’s Invitational. The Hurricanes finished 12th at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

“This year we had a lot of success on both sides,” head coach Damon Griffiths said. “Always the team goal is to improve our conference meet.”

Freshman Anna Bona felt the women’s season went well.

“We improved as a team throughout the season, but I know we can do much better,” she said. “A lot of the team was first-year runners, so we needed to learn how to race and become more confident and competitive. We definitely hope to improve this upcoming season.”

Senior Andrew Chuplis attributed the men’s performance to the losses they suffered during the season.

“The seniors ran pretty well, considering all the injuries they had to train through,” he said. “The freshmen adapted well to the jump from 5k to 8k.”

Restructuring, however, must take place before next season begins to ensure a bright future for the programs. On the men’s team, five of the top seven runners were seniors who graduated. Only one senior ran in the top seven for the women.

Coach Griffiths explained that the team expects at least two to three newcomers.

“Some will be transfers, and a lot will be high school seniors that are coming in,” he said. “They come with an extensive background in middle to long-distance running.”

While looking ahead to a new year of success, the runners of the cross country team also found time to reflect on the past.

“I think one of our strengths is that we work together, even though cross country is a really individual sport,” sophomore Emma Steppe said. “If anybody isn’t competing, they are out there cheering you on.”