THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran men's cross country team will feature eight returning runners in 2017 with the addition of four freshmen as the squad aims at improving on previous years.
CLU will be led by third-year cross country runner Timmy Kahovec who was the top time for the Kingsmen in every meet a year ago, with a season-best 8K time of 26:05.83 at the Biola Invitational, and in the final two meets of 2015. The lone senior Christian Rider was next in line for season average in 2016 and three of the other top-seven times of the season from last year will return to running this fall.
In addition to Kahovec and Rider, juniors Michael Miller and Zachary Sergey and sophomores Rigoberto Baza Carillo, Henry Friederichs, Connor Richter and Tyler Tvelia will all contribute to the team throughout the season.
The depth and leadership will benefit the Kingsmen in 2017 and youth will help as well.
Four new faces will don the Violet and Gold this year, including Nikita Khromets (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Jack Martin (Calabasas, Calif.), Connor Neufeld-Griffin (Portland, Ore.) and Aaron Rider (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) who joins his brother on the squad and in the collegiate ranks.
"Our depth will allow us flexibility so we do not have to rely on the same individuals ever meet," head coach Matt Lea shared, "Anyone can step up in our scoring five in any given meet."
After a long summer of running individually, the group is glad to be back together, training and preparing to compete.
The first opportunity for the Kingsmen to toe the line this fall will come on Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Mark Covert Classic, hosted by CSU Fullerton. Racing on a great course, which the team will trot for the first time in 2017, will be a good transition back to competitive running.
With just five competition dates on the regular season calendar, the expectation is to get better each week and do the best racing of the year when it matters most at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships and NCAA Division III West Regionals.
"The Kingsmen have great senior leadership this year, which will be important in the team improving from last season," Lea said.
Roster: 2017 Men's Cross Country Roster
Schedule: 2017 Men's Cross Country Schedule
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Release by Tracy L. Olson, Sports Information Director