By Jeffrey Abbott
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – In their second year back after a 25-year hiatus, Camden County College’s cross country team is sending runners Raymond Negron and John Vu, who both qualified for Nationals, out to the event on Nov. 9 at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts.
Cross country isn’t a sport where you can gauge your performance and competition level on a daily basis. These runners usually go a week between races, and even then they still can’t get a concrete idea of where they’re at compared to other runners. The reason for this has a variety of factors, which include the courses they run, the other runners competing and the weather on the day of a race.
Each race is important, but the most important race in the season is the Regional Meet at Brookdale Community College. The top 10 runners to finish the race advance to Nationals automatically while the top three teams advance to Nationals. The CCC men’s cross country team missed going out to Nationals by four points this year, literally by one runner.
“I knew the team had Ray back, and I knew we had John back.” said the Athletic Director Dr. Peter DiLorenzo. Although the team had their top two runners back, he expressed his concerns for the other runners. Two former soccer players and one basketball player joined the team this year and he wasn’t sure how they would do because even though they were in shape, were they in running shape? But DiLorenzo had faith in Head Coach Terry Visale-Damminger to put the team together. “I knew Terry would find somebody, she’ll pull somebody from the parking lot and get them to run,” DiLorenzo said.
Expectations for the season were high, and Captains Negron and Vu held their team to the highest level. “Our expectations for our team were pretty high especially with all the training we’ve been doing in the off-season. We’ve been training every morning, almost every morning five to six days a week logging in 40 to 50 miles.” said Vu.
“Honestly, I did expect us to go out to Nationals. I’m a little surprised that we didn’t as a team,” said Negron.
Damminger said, “My expectations for the team were to take a couple kids out to Nationals to compete and I was hoping for the whole team, but I knew I’d take a couple out.”
The 2013 DIII National Championship will be at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Northfield Mountain Recreation Center, 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA 01360 and is being held by Holyoke Community College. To get general information about the event such as hotels or answers to questions, you should go to http://www.hcc.edu/campus-life/athletics/cross-country-national-championships, where links are provided to help you.