2002 Men's Cross Country Season Preview

Maryland Athletics
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Aug. 19th, 2002

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland men's cross country team is looking forward to a highly successful season this year, under the leadership of head coach Trent Sanderson. Sanderson is looking forward to coaching his first full season with the Terps, after the team showed dramatic improvement in 2001. Strong performances by reliable returners and talented newcomers will help propel the team to new heights this season.

The team will be led by returning junior Mike Prada (Fulton, Md.), who was the Terps' fastest finisher in four meets last year. In two of those meets, his times earned him places in the top ten overall. Prada was the first Maryland men's cross country runner to complete the 10K course at the 2001 NCAA District Cross Country Championships, and placed in the top 100. Lowering many of his individual times last year, Prada is expected to continue this trend into the 2002 season.

Assisting Prada will be the return of a talented sophomore class, including Mike Fleg (Clarksville, Md.), who competed in every race last year. Another valuable sophomore will be Matt Adami (Mount Airy, Md.). Adami was one of three Terps to compete at the 2001 NCAA District Cross Country Championships. The consistent effort of Adam Ambrus (Shamong, N.J.) will round out the class of returning sophomores this season. Ambrus, who practiced diligently during the off-season, is expected to have a breakout year for the Terps.

The team is looking to break a four-year ninth place finish streak at the ACC Championships. Additionally, the team aims to develop into a competitive force in the ACC, and attain a regional ranking. Helping them to accomplish these goals will be a promising class of newcomers, including sophomore Florent Groberg (Potomac, Md.) and junior Doug Allen (Walkersville, Md.). Allen has valuable collegiate racing experience from last season, when he competed cross country for UMBC. Also joining the team this year is freshman Natty Zola (Boulder, Colo.) Sophomore Pat McHenry (Harleysville, Pa.) and freshman Dan Ryan (Silver Spring, Md.) will be two other valuable assets to the team, after having finished lucrative high school running careers.

The Terps have been working hard in the off-season to prepare for the 2002 season. During the indoor track season, the members of the men's team qualified for the IC4A's for the first time in three years. Additionally, at the ACC Indoor Championships, the team scored higher than it has in the past four years.

The improvement of the team last year, combined with strong returning athletes and talented newcomers, produces a bright outlook for the upcoming season.

"Our level of commitment is high right now," said Sanderson. "We have a lot of work to be done and a lot of ability. I believe the sky is the limit."