The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams have completed their 2019 season after competing in eight meets. The teams have turned in the first season under the new head coach, Ryan Scanlon. Despite the highs and lows that come with any sports teams throughout the season, the Seahawks have pushed through and are hanging up their spikes with the hopes that next season will bring more success.
With vigorous training beginning directly after the end of the Fall 2018 season, the SMCM Cross Country runners ran mile after mile in preparation for the 2019 season. Coach Scanlon was hired just before training started for the 2019 season, in August 2019. He spent the 2018 season at the helm of the Varsity Girls Cross Country team at South Carroll High School in Sykesville, MD. While coaching at South Carroll, Scanlon led his team to a first place finish in the Carroll County Championships and a sixth place finish in the Maryland State Championship, which garnered him the accolade of 2018 Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, which was awarded by the “Carroll County Times.” Scanlon is the third coach that the SMCM Cross Country program has had in the past three years.
The new coaching style has presented some controversy among the SMCM runners throughout the season. Over the course of the season, half of the team members have quit because of the issues that have emerged with the entrance of the new coach. Runners who wish to remain anonymous claim that his coaching style is far too intense, which sparked disagreements resulting in the resignation of the team members.
On a more positive note, the SMCM Cross Country program creates unbreakable bonds between the teammates, allowing each runner to make lifelong friends while competing in the sport that they love. Ronald Wong (‘22) explained that his favorite memories of the 2019 season are any moments involving the team. “They are like my family,” Wong stated. “I enjoyed the summer preseason before classes started the most since the team would spend time together a lot.” This strong bond between runners makes it more possible to weather the difficulties which arose throughout the season. Similarly, Izzy Hermans (‘22) remarked, “team bonding is the best part of any season. Seeing returning friends from last year and getting to know the new freshmen is going to be my highlight every time. The docks are the best place to lie in the sun, chat, and go swimming.”
Although the season may have just ended, there is little rest for these running Seahawks. Hermans, who has been running for twelve years, also noted that the Women’s Cross Country team has already agreed to meet up three times a week in order to stay in shape during the off-season. Aside from group runs, Hermans stated that she plans on using the pool, weight and abdominal rooms at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreational Center. Wong, who has been running competitively for eight years, explained that his offseason will consist of running on his own time, weight lifting and participation in club sports.
Despite the controversy and struggles which faced the running Seahawks this past season, they have pushed through and continued to demonstrate resilience and determination throughout their workouts and races. Now, they will enjoy a well-deserved break which will allow them to run their own workouts on their own time in preparation for the upcoming season. As Hermans stated, “We are looking forward to a restful off season and coming back stronger in 2020.” The Cross Country program will use this off-season to recuperate and recover, and they plan on returning next fall to make a name for themselves.