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Creighton Cross Country Team Off and Running

Creighton’s cross country team is less than a week into fall practice. The Bluejays have a lot to accomplish in less than two weeks, when they open their season in the CU/UNO Invitational at Chili Greens Golf Course in Omaha (free admission, fans!) on September 4. Coach Chas Davis caught up with WBR to answer a few questions about the summer, the schedule he set for the team, his new assistant coaches, and where fans can follow the team on Twitter.

WBR: How has the summer gone for you and the team? A lot of the team was in Omaha running, correct? Does that make the transition to practice beginning easier for the runners?

CD: The summer has gone pretty well, by and large. We’ve had the normal range of illness and slight aches and pains, especially with the incoming freshmen class, but they’re all still where they should be for this time in the season. I’d say about half of our squads hung around Omaha for the summer, which did help ensure they were already adapted to the heat and humidity in Omaha. Some who spent their summers (especially our freshmen) in more temperate climates have had some heat related issues.

WBR: How have the freshmen handled the change to Division I practice?

CD: We haven’t really throttled anything up all that much yet. I like to allow them some time to adapt to college/dorm life in general, first. That’s a tough transition in and of itself. We have three months ahead of us, so we are being pretty patient with the whole squad. I have been impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication of our freshmen thus far.

WBR: You’ve mixed up the schedule a little this season. The team is still starting out at the CU/UNO Invite and going to the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invite, but then you’re making trips to Oregon and Wisconsin. Why the change?

CD: I like changing things up for a wide variety of competition and with this young of a program, I want to try a number of things to see what works well with them. Although I’d like them to see more MVC competition in the schedule, it can be difficult to track down and I wasn’t convinced we’d get a whole lot out of it after seeing most of the conference at the Bradley Invite last season (the same weekend we are in Wisconsin this year, October 16). We are looking for an “experience” in atmosphere that our runners won’t forget on some of the best courses in the country against competition that will help us grow. These two meets provide that.

I remember going to Pre-Nationals in South Carolina against some of the best in the country as a freshman competing for Creighton and that left an indelible impression on me with a sense of what I was a part of and the purpose it gave our squad. I want the same for this squad.

WBR: After coaching at Oregon State for a year, will you run into some familiar faces at the Charles Bowles Invitational in Salem? Is that how you heard about the meet and got it on the schedule?

CD: I’ll see many familiar faces that will probably help our team out a lot that weekend. I actually competed in this meet two years ago and I felt the time was right to take the team. I think they will get far more out of it than “just another race.” This area of Oregon is a special place to compete as a distance runner and I want to give them a glimpse of what that’s about.

WBR: Including the conference meet and NCAA Regionals, there are seven meets this year compared to eight last year? Why did the schedule get shortened?

CD: This is due to the nature of the squad we have now as opposed to the team we had a year ago. Last year, we often competed our top squad and second squad at different meets on alternating weekends. This year, we are keeping the team together until the Mount Marty Invite on October 23. By this time, we will have decided our “MVC Squad” for the Championship the following weekend and we want to give those not included one more chance to compete this season when everyone is peaking. Our runners will be competing with the same frequency they did last year, just more consistently together.

WBR: Last Spring, assistant coach Marty Kinsey took the head job at St. Mary’s College (California). Have you filled the assistant coach job?

CD: Yes, we have. Our former women’s team captain, Molly Jergenson (Creighton, 2010) is now an assistant coach with the women. Matt Pohren, who coached as an assistant at Northwest Missouri State the three years prior to this, is now an assistant coach with the men. They are both doing a fantastic job so far and I have been very impressed with their sense of what this program needs.

WBR: There is a Creighton XC and Track Twitter page. What kind of information will fans find there?

CD: Mostly general updates for now. But when we begin racing, they’ll probably find timely thoughts on the results of our races.

Become a follower of the cross country team, Cr8on_XC_Track, and follow them throughout the season on Twitter.

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