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Men’s XC Preview: Prospects look good with top five returning

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Alec Miller returns as the team's top runner.

Alec Miller returns as the team's top runner.

Photo by Graphic by Brian Georgeson

Photo by Graphic by Brian Georgeson

Alec Miller returns as the team's top runner.

Coach: Mike Nelson (10th season)

Key Departures: Patrick Campbell, Brendan Franz, William Hennessy, D.T. McDonald

Runners to watch: Alec Miller, Jon Klaiber, Brad Eagan

2015 results: Fifth at the BIG EAST Championships, sixth at the National Catholic Championships and 20th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships

Overview: With its top five runners all returning, Marquette looks to have its strongest season yet under head coach Mike Nelson. The Golden Eagles also have strong runners outside the top five, plus they brought in seven freshmen who could make an impact. Expectations are high, but Nelson knows that nothing is set in stone, which makes this season all the more entertaining.

“I think we will definitely have some surprises,” said Nelson. “I think you will have some new guys step up and find their role on the team. It is always exciting to see who steps up and see who that top five, seven or ten will be. It’s going to be exciting to see how things go.”

Key Leaders: Junior Alec Miller will lead the team as the Golden Eagles’ No. 1 runner. Coach Nelson said that Miller was “really ready to make a jump this cross country season, and has put himself in an elite group.” Some other runners who will be key factors this season will be sophomores Jon Klaiber and Brad Eagan, who consistently finished in the top three or four for Marquette.

Cody Haberkorn and Nate Gomoll are also back, but Gomoll will redshirt this season.

Staying on track: Nelson believes the way the Golden Eagles ended last spring as BIG EAST track and field champions is a good sign of where the team is headed.

“We return the vast majority of that group to the team this year,” said Nelson. “I do think that we can be a better team this year. We can definitely improve our placings at the various meets we go to throughout the season.”

2016 Schedule: Sept. 10 at Midwest Open, Sept. 16 at National Catholic Championships, Oct. 1 at Greater Louisville Classic, Oct. 15 at NCAA Pre-Nationals, Oct. 28 at BIG EAST Championships, Nov. 11 at NCAA Great Lakes Regional, Nov. 19 at NCAA Championships

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