UAF cross country trains for next week's start of the season

FAIRBANKS-The college cross country season is just days away. The UAF cross country runners will host Montana State Billings and Seattle Pacific on the West Ridge trails Sept 5 and Sept 7 in the Alaska Cross Country Classic. But before they face those GNAC foes the Nanooks continue training this weekend.

The men and women will run in the Ester Dome race this Saturday. It's a 5K run that's uphill so it will be test.

Lone Senior Alyson McPhetres returns to lead the women's team that features freshmen like West Valley product Dorothy O'Donnel and Kali Striker from Midlothian Virginia. The men's team has a bit of everything with a senior, junior and sophomore to go along with three freshmen Mitch Burgess, Tai Norvell and Kenneth Brewer.

I talked to cross country head coach Scott Jerome this summer and he says his new coaching intern Joey Nunes will play a big role in the program this season.

"He's been through the ringer as a D2 athlete. He knows what it takes to be a top runner in college, so he's going to be very good for our program. He's going to lead by example. He's still competitive. Both the men and the women on the cross country team are going to benefit from him being here," Jerome said.

The new runners have been able to come into the program due to administrative support.

"It's going to be a lot of new faces, especially on the women's side, but that's good. We've gotten support from the administration about growing the program with scholarship dollars and also with coaching dollars and those resources help us put out a quality program." Jermome added, "we're excited to be able to recruit high quality student athletes and that's what we're doing and we're excited about the people coming in."