2011 Cross Country Season Preview
Heading into the 2011 cross country season both the men's and women's squads have reason for optimism if the mix of returning runners gels with a blend of new runners.
On the men's side the Beavers will be led by Andy Zucker. As a sophomore last season Zucker was the only Caltech harrier to place in the team's top five in all six races.
"While Andy wasn't always the fastest runner, he was our most steady competitor in each event. I look for him to post consistent results again this year," said 13th year head coach Scott Jung.
A quartet of sophomore runners as well as an incoming first year class will compete for scoring positions throughout the year. Michael Zhang, Will Livingston, Stan Schor and Jon Schor top the list of second year harriers for the Beavers. Livingston scored for the Beavers in two events while Zhang and the Schor twins just missed out on top five positions during the 2010 campaign.
"If the four of them put the proper training in during the summer months, there is reason to think they will be strong contributors for the squad," Jung said. "The second year runners will be pushed by a good class of first years."
Leading the charge among the first year harriers is Jared Forte. The product of Lake Elsinore, CA was one of the top runners in his region during his high school competitions. Including Forte, the first year runner class of seven will have plenty of opportunities to step up and be key contributors throughout the season.
"All of the freshman runners will be give every chance to score points and provide the team a lift in each meet," Jung said.
On the women's side the Beavers will have to fill a spot left by the graduation of Stephanie Wuerth but, the Beavers return four of their top five harriers from 2010. Caltech will be buoyed by the return of Juliette Becker. During her first year with the program Becker set the school 6K record en route to earning second-team all-conference accolades.
"Juliette was a very welcome breath of fresh air to the women's program," Jung said. "She has a quiet confidence about herself when she is out on the course and it will be exciting to watch her mature."
Clara Eng was a point scorer in all of the races for the Beavers in 2010 and will be looked upon to continue her consistency. Also returning are sophomores Marlyn Moore and Katja Luxem. The duo provided top five finishes in every event last year.
"Clara has been a steady runner for us since she came to Caltech. I expect much of the same from her again this season," Jung said. "Marlyn and Katja will be improved with another year of experience after fighting through some injuries late in the season in 2010."
The final grouping of runners will be paced by the return of Nina Budaeva. After taking a season away from the squad in 2010, she returns after being a vital contributor during the 2009 season. Stephanie Reynolds will look to push towards the front of the pack during her first year on campus.
"If the ladies stay healthy they could have a real solid season," Jung said. "There are certainly question marks for the squad but overall I feel good about how we will perform in 2011."
See Video of Scott Jung's Preview --