Cross country teams look to grow in upcoming season

Head coach Carmin Mazzotta talks about the new season and expected challenges

The ‘Pack’s cross country teams have had a good summer of recruitment for the upcoming season.

Over the summer the WolfPack cross country team has recruited strongly to the women’s roster and head coach Carmin Mazzotta is looking forward to what will be a rebuilding season for the men.

“I’m really excited for the women’s team. Not only have we recruited several women, we have a mix, we have some women who are coming out of high school who are strong runners, coming out of the trail running scene,” Mazzotta said.

“We have women going back to competitive running after a few years of coaching and we have an athlete who was an assistant coach of the Edmonton Golden Bears, who are an established program,” he added.

Mazzotta also mentioned the fact that the team had female athletes who struggled with injuries last year and were not able to compete much, but who are healthy now and eager to run.

“Our women’s side could be the strongest it has ever been,” he concluded.

Mazzotta is very curious to see how his women’s roster will stack up against rivals UBC Okanagan, who recently joined Canada West.

Mazzotta also made it clear that a lot of the team’s goals for the upcoming season were about developing leadership and the potential for future successes for the program.

“For the women’s side, it is about seeing what we can do in terms of building cohesion as a team and new leadership,” Mazzotta said.

For the men’s team, Mazzotta explained that this year will be a rebuilding year.

“You lose five guys in any program, let alone an emerging program like ours, it becomes a rebuilding year,” he concluded.

Mazzotta also spoke on the loss of Conlan Sprickerhoff, former men’s team captain, who had been with the team for four years.

“Losing Conlan is really tough, look at the number of awards he won with the WolfPack over the years, he is really irreplaceable. It’s a matter of nurturing and fostering that leadership in an emerging athlete now,” Mazzotta said.

Despite this, he stated his excitement at developing young talent and leadership on the men’s roster as well.

Mazzotta also talked about how the poor air quality Kamloops had affected athletes over the summer.

“I think it’s always tough for B.C. athletes in conditions like this summer, especially in the Interior, it is tough to train,” he said.

He revealed that there will be several new coaches coming in to help as well. All of them have lots of experience competing in tough cross-country races.

Mazzotta also mentioned that TRU will be developing a strong strength and conditioning program that will help the ‘Pack athletes immensely.

However, he will be taking a brief hiatus from the team due to personal reasons, but he is very confident things will run smoothly.