Young and talented – that's how head coach Del Hessel describes this fall's men and women's cross country teams.
"They might be the best team CSU has ever had," said Hessel of the women's program. Quite a statement considering the women's team has been represented in the National Championships ten years in a row.
Out of over two hundred Division-I teams, the national championships only invite the top 31 teams from around the nation.
Although the women's team was disappointed with their 26th place finish last year, they were still proud to be part of such an elite group.
"You really have to be good just to get there," said Hessel.
Hessel said he is looking to the nationally ranked Danielle Korb to lead the young squad.
"Danielle is a tremendous athlete and a good leader," said Hessel.
The head coach is also excited to see what true freshmen Chantelle Dron and Kristen Hemphill can do on the collegiate level.
"College is a lot different from high school, but both of them are going to be really good," said Hessel of his freshmen.
The cross country team has high aspirations this season, as evident by their rigorous training exercise of up to 80 miles per week.
Hessel said he is very confident that he has twelve girls who can really contribute to the team, something that is very rare at a national level.
The men's team comes into the season after placing 24th at nationals last year and turns to Josh Glaab and Paul Michel, both fifth year seniors, to lead the team back to the national spotlight this season.
"Our front-runners are pretty good," said Hessel of his upperclassmen.
The team has an abundance of young runners as well, including freshmen Daniel Hemphill and Steve Curtis, both of whom redshirted last year.
Jeff Wahl and Steve Swartz look to crack the top 7 along with true freshman and former Oregon high school state champion, Scott Sanders.
The men typically run 70 to 100 miles per week and coach Hessel says the men are looking good so far.
"We have talent and great work ethic," said Hessel of his squad. "It is very competitive within the team, which makes a good team." He added he is anxious to see what the team does in the first meet in two-weeks at Wyoming.
"Based on talent and experience, we have two top 25 teams in the nation," said Hessel.