Junior communication studies major John Cahill is back for his third year with the Fairleigh Dickinson University cross country team and is ready to take over the team as a second year captain.
Cahill said, “I feel as though because we have a whole new team and I feel as though I’m helping coach them because I know about running, but they are listening and really want to improve their running.”
The program has not been publicized during recent years and it has been tough for them to receive support or even recruits. But, if you look at this team, they are one of the closest organizations on campus.
“It’s tough to get guys because we have a lot more girls,” Cahill said. “Guys, when they come to FDU, they are looking to run track and obviously we don’t have a track team here. So it’s tough to get new freshmen to join. Just trying to get anyone else on campus, I honestly don’t think they can run five miles for a race. I’ve always heard my coaches say running is 90 percent mental. If you think you can beat someone you will. It’s the simplest thing, going from point A to B.”
The men barely have enough athletes to field a team, but they usually place at meets. The Devils finished third during a meet at the Purchase College Invitational on Sept. 7. The Devils received a plaque that they happily brought back to FDU to display to all the students. This team is ready to receive some attention and show the campus they are for real.
Cahill said there was a Merchant Marine college at the Purchase College event that basically stole the show and most of their runners finished in the top ten.
The Devils came in seventh during their most recent invitational at Ramapo College.
Although the Devils lack depth on the men’s team, Cahill does feel the team can compete this season.
FDU has made it to the MAC Championship meet the past two seasons, which has helped the squad develop confidence.
The Devils have not only faced adversity with fielding a team, but the men’s cross country team have had to run through some tough conditions, which has only made them stronger.
“I think two years ago was more of an impact one for me only because that was the snow one and we ran in a blizzard,” Cahill said. “We didn’t delay it because it was a conference meet. We went really low and beat about one team during that. The following year we were at Misericordia, it was a better course, it wasn’t snowing. It was the day before the hurricane too and it showed us we can run in better conditions.”
Cahill believes if the student body actually came out to a meet and watched the runners perform, they would have an appreciation for the sport of Cross Country.
Head Coach Dante Fedeli has had the difficult task of recruiting for both the cross country and softball teams, but he has done a good job for both squads.
Cahill believes the recruiting process is not as difficult as others. “Cross Country is just its own thing because every team does run, but we take it a little more extreme.
“Recruiting is definitely tough, but a few people are supposed to stay overnight this semester. Recruiting is not difficult because they put so many names in the newspaper and you can check from there. It’s usually the top 25 from each race in high school. Just follow the newspaper.”
The sport is quickly growing on campus.
The team has fun together, even when in Pennsylvania running through parks with corn fields and electric fences to hold cows back.
Competing in the MAC Championship during a blizzard and Hurricane Sandy has only made the squad better prepared and closer as a team.
Cahill and the men’s cross country team is ready to make a name for themselves on campus.