The Truman State University men’s cross country team is welcoming a large freshman class that will soon grow to be leaders of the team and define an era for Truman cross country over the next four years.
There are currently four freshmen on the active roster, accompanied by three upperclassmen, two of which are using their final year of eligibility with the modified NCAA rules.
Graduate student, Tom Cormier, and junior, Nathan Key, were very quick to praise the work ethic they have already seen from the freshman class.
“All the underclassmen have showed up ready to work,” said Key. “I don’t have anything negative to say about any of the freshmen … Evan AuBuchon has been injured, but what sticks out to me is that he still shows up to every practice and does whatever coach Schwegler asks of him.”
The leadership of the upperclassmen and coaches cannot be understated when it is put in the perspective of the development and performance of the runners.
Head coach Tim Schwegler is entering his seventh season as the men’s cross country coach and has a very unique connection to the Truman program.
In the 1980s, Schwegler served as the captain of the Truman cross country team and a member of the track team. Following his graduation he found a home in Kirksville, coaching the Kirksville Tigers’s cross country team. He was the catalyst for three district titles and two North Central Missouri Conference championships.
He then coached for Highland Community College, making them a top-20 NJCAA program before returning to Truman in 2006 as an assistant coach, later becoming head coach.
Both Cormier and Key were quick to heap praise on their coach for his passion and understanding of the sport.
“It’s encouraging to know that he’s been a student here so he knows what it’s like to be a student athlete and what it takes to succeed. He lays the groundwork for us to succeed and in turn, he expects that we reward that with effort,” said Key.
Cormier continued, saying, “When it comes to workout performances, he tries to be encouraging and push us. He relies on intrinsic motivation of the runners, which is reliant on your own goals so you will only do as well as you are willing to push yourself.”
Cormier also elaborated on the importance of injury prevention, a factor that goes into winning a race that coaches have an impact on.
The men’s cross country team has their first meet this Thursday, Sept. 2 as they host Lindenwood University at the Countryside Church Course at 5:45 p.m. This is part of the annual Dog and Cat Fight event and will be a chance to scope the performances of the freshmen and the future of the program.