The Allegheny Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams head into the final few weeks of the fall season looking to finish strong. First-year standout, Owen Isham, ’23, talked about his experiences with the cross country team as his first fall season nears its conclusion.
“Being a part of the cross country team is great,” Isham said. “We are definitely close as a team, and we’re all friends so it’s nice to have that kind of support.”
Isham, coming to Allegheny from State College, continues to have a successful first season at Allegheny, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s definitely been a good season,” Isham said. “I think I’ve done pretty well and conferences went really well for me, too. I was actually named ‘Newcomer of the Year,’ so I was really excited about that.”
As he reflected on his season, Isham talked about what made him attend Allegheny.
“I pretty much knew I wanted to run in college, and my visit to Allegheny definitely convinced me that this was the school for me,” Isham said.
A transition period is inevitable when an athlete increases a level in competitive running, but Isham said he is happy with the way things have gone for him thus far.
“Adapting to the college level has been great,” Isham said. “The training times are pretty similar to what I did in high school last year, so it’s been a good transition, and I’m enjoying it a lot.”
As the first-year athlete enters the final stages of his first cross country season at Allegheny, he said the team is keeping it fairly simple in regards to expectations for the rest of the way.
“At regionals, as a team, we just want to perform well and run the way we have been all season,” Isham said. “We want to try our very best, and I am sure we will do well.”
Isham, who finished sixth at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship, will compete at Regionals in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Calvin University Gainey Athletic Complex.
Isham’s teammate Tim Weighart, ’22, placed seventh at the meet and will also be competing at Regionals in a few weeks’ time. Weighart emphasized the camaraderie amongst the team, and why the team’s closeness helps them compete on race day.
“We’re a close team for sure,” Weighart said. “We work hard together almost all year round, so we definitely form a bond as a team. We really only get two weeks off in December after the season, and then we’re right back into action.”
When talking about the season and his thoughts on what has transpired, Weighart said the team has seen both highs and lows.
“As a team we’ve had a pretty good season,” Weighart said. “Conferences were a little bit tough, but we all did as well as we could.”
Weighart said he was happy to qualify for regionals after having a day where he was not feeling his best to run.
“For me personally, I definitely did not feel my best on the day,” Weighart said. “I think it was that way for a lot of people, but I was still happy with the race because I, and everyone else, ran the best that they could, which is all you can really do and in the end, we still performed pretty well as a team, finishing third.”
Team standout Mica Hanish, ’21, said she looks forward to the challenges coming after finishing a close second at the NCAC Championships.
“The race did not play out like we had hoped it would,” Hanish said. “Both the girls and the guys were aiming for first place finishes, but we both ended up in third. Every season has a worst race, so we’re hoping that this was it for us, and we’re aiming to do a lot better at regionals.”
For its upcoming regionals tournament, Hanish said the team is excited to compete and has high expectations for the races.
“We are excited to go into the race as underdogs,” Hanish said. “We’re not ranked very high in the region, but I think we have the ability to beat many, if not all, of the teams in front of us. Since I’ve been at Allegheny, our team has had a history of competing significantly better at regionals and nationals than at earlier season meets, including the conference meet.”
Individually, Hanish has high expectations for herself, and hopes to finish her junior season on top.
“My personal goal is to finish in the top seven because that will qualify me individually for nationals,” Hanish said. “At nationals, personally I’d like to finish in an All-American position; I was eight seconds away last year.”
Hanish and other qualifiers from the team will compete at regionals in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday, Nov. 16.