Young cross country team has high hopes

By Jen Wozniak
September 3, 2009

Shannon Keough

The Cabrini men’s and women’s cross country teams are busy practicing for their upcoming season and getting ready for their first meet on Saturday, Sept. 5 at the Delaware Valley College Invitational in Doylestown, Pa.

While the women’s team has some strong returning runners, the men’s team is counting on the newcomers, as they have one returning runner, and he didn’t even run last year because he was injured.

Returning juniors on the women’s team are Diane Gapinski, Kelly McEachern and Diipali Figgles.

“Our women’s team has some strong veterans who should certainly make all-league or better,” Tom O’Hora, head cross country coach, said. The team also has some freshmen who are showing potential. “Our top freshmen are Jess Merone, Shatievah Lewis and Kate Freyvogel.”

Gapinski, junior elementary education major and captain with McEachern, said, “We have some strong freshmen and are looking forward to a good season. We have five really strong runners which is important for cross-county. People will hopefully be surprised by how well we do this season.”

The men’s team, which lost virtually everybody from last year, is looking to rebuild the team and improve throughout the season. No longer with the team is Eddie Penetar, a key runner from the past two years who would have been a junior at Cabrini this year but transferred.

“This is a total rebuilding season,” O’Hora said. “We are really depending on the novices and are looking to recruit more runners. It would be great to improve over last year and win second at the championship. [Last year the team placed third.] The key freshmen for the men’s team are Tyler Rooke and Jaiquann Beckham.”

Rooke, freshman secondary education major, said, “Our team is ranked third in our conference but I think we can finish second. The team is getting along well so far and practices are going really well, but we have a lot of work left to do before our first meet. I’m really excited for the season and to see how the team comes along.”

The biggest rival for both the men and women is Gwynedd-Mercy College, according to O’Hora. He added that the new assistant cross country coach has a sister who is a top runner for Gwynedd-Mercy, which should be interesting.

“Our goal for the women’s team is to win the league championship as the underdogs. Gwynedd-Mercy will be tough to beat but the women are going after them,” O’Hora said.

Shatievah Lewis, freshman biology major, said, “My goal is to work hard, run fast and win the cross country league championship.”

The cross country teams will have meets once a week on Saturdays once the season starts, with the exception of one Friday meet. At meets, the women run 3.1 miles and the men run 5 miles. The conference championship is set for Saturday, Nov. 7 at Immaculata University.

In preparation for the season, the teams are currently running every morning and afternoon Monday through Thursday and afternoons on Fridays. The morning run is at 7 a.m. and the afternoon run is around 3:30 p.m.

If you are interested in joining the cross country team, please contact Tom O’Hora at

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Jen Wozniak

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