In different ways, talented seniors Matthew Davis and Patrick Meyers will have major influences on the Lords' upcoming 2011 cross country campaign. Davis, the Lords' top runner has been ruled out for the season, while Meyers is returning from injury and will now have a heavy load to shoulder.
Davis led the Lords to the finish line in all eight races last season and capped things off with an individual ninth-place showing among 101 runners at the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championship meet. Unfortunately, he will not get the opportunity to improve on that position. Health problems have sidelined him for the duration of the 2011 schedule.
Meyers typically followed Davis as the next Kenyon runner to finish races last season, however, that season was cut short due to injury. Now that he's back on the trails, Meyers has the opportunity to become the team's top runner. It won't be easy to fill Davis' shoes, but Meyers has proven in the past that he is capable. Prior to his injury, he turned in a top-40 finish in both the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational and the GLCA Championship.
The task ahead will be a difficult one for the entire Kenyon team, which is looking to make up major ground after a seventh-place conference finish in 2010. The good news is that the Lords are an experienced bunch and Duane Gomez, who enters his 29th season as head coach, can look for solid results from senior Dan Riggins, as well as juniors Jackson Cabo and Neil Campbell. Riggins and Cabo usually slotted into the No. 3 through No. 5 scoring positions last year, while Campbell showed plenty of promise after shaking the effects of an early-season illness.
Although not as experienced as the previously mention trio, sophomore Willy Friedlander will be someone to keep an eye on for 2011. He improved steadily as a freshman, and when Meyers went down with an injury, Friedlander stepped up. He was the second Kenyon runner to cross the line in the final three races of the year, including the NCAC Championship meet, where he claimed an individual 39th-place finish.
Overcoming adversity will definitely be a theme for the Lords and they will look to do so beginning September 1, when their season kicks off at home in the Kenyon Quad Meet.