For the Boston University distance running community, senior Rich Peters has been at the forefront of the program for the past few years with continued appearances on the national stage. In the 2013 cross country season, Peters will look to repeat his 2012 success as he highlights a group of runners that he hopes make an impact in its Patriot League debut.
Though Peters has had most of his success as a Terrier on the track, he enjoyed success in November during the 2012 cross country season . He finished ninth at the NCAA Northeast Regional, earning him a national championship berth. Peters is the only returning man in the Patriot League who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.
“Rich had a great summer … he has continued to progress,” said BU coach Bruce Lehane. “He’s looking strong. What we’re trying to do is more or less time his season so that he’s coming on strong at the end. He made the national meet last year … he’s great to have on the team.”
The men were picked in a preseason coaches’ poll to finish fourth in the Patriot League, receiving one first-place vote. BU will compete in the Patriot League for the first time this season after transitioning from the America East.
Other likely contributors besides Peters on the men’s side include sophomore Alec Olson, senior Michael Caputo and sophomore Kevin Thomas. Olson ran a personal best of 25:10.77 in his freshman campaign, while Caputo was one of the most improved runners for BU last season, lowering his personal record by over 30 seconds to 25:48.23. Thomas posted a personal best of 25:20.45 in his rookie season and made significant progress during track season. Lehane said he expects Thomas to continue to improve.
“Kevin’s done a good job and ran very well for a freshman,” Lehane said. “He put in a good summer and early workouts, he looks fine. His history is that he’s better on the track than cross country. You don’t know necessarily if that will play true again this season, you know, people can change with maturity and get stronger.
“We’ll have to see how that plays out for Kevin. But we know he’s in good shape and … made nice progress last year.”
For the women, senior Monica Adler will look to continue her success from last season, which was highlighted by a victory at the New England Championships. She won the five-kilometer course with a time of 17:00.79. Though Adler, similar to Peters, primarily runs shorter events, she “[broke] into a new level of running” last cross country season, as Lehane said a year ago, when she emerged as an elite long distance runner as well.
“I think she’s continuing to develop,” Lehane said. “… She’s gotten stronger. Her endurance continues to climb.”
Lehane noted Adler, junior Rosa Moriello and senior Nikki Long as three women who will lead a much-improved BU squad. Moriello redshirted last season, but finished 18th at the NCAA East Regional the previous year.
Though the women were selected to finish fourth in the preseason poll, Lehane said he has confidence in his team — so much that he thinks it has a shot at winning the Patriot League Championship.
“On the women’s side this year, I think we’re going to challenge for the title,” Lehane said. “A couple things have to play out right, but I feel like we have the personnel to win the conference.”
Despite his heavy praise, Lehane said he does not try to put too much pressure on his runners.
“To me, the challenge is for everyone to kind of do the best they can,” Lehane said. “Whatever happens, happens. We’re not terribly worried about it in one sense … what my focus is, is getting people motivated and as excited about participating.”