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The 2013 Maranatha cross-country team welcomes two new, joint head coaches to their team this year, Paul Zdroik (husband of MBBC trainer, Sarah Zdroik) and Ruth Steinbart (MBBC Athletic Administrative Assistant). Says Coach Ruth Steinbart of this year’s team, “We have 18 runners currently on this year’s team. An even mix of nine guys and nine girls, with most being either freshman or sophomores. With such a young team, we have a lot of new runners this year that show potential to develop quickly into strong runners.”

Some key returners for the Crusaders include junior Michael Kluver (Sauk Centre, MN), who has proven himself to be a strong, consistent runner. “Michael is a fast, talented runner who helps the team by encouraging the other guys to keep up with his pace,” remarks Coach Steinbart. Also returning is sophomore runner Kimberly Richerson (Elmwood, IL). “Kimberly has a very outgoing personality, which allows her to fulfill an important leadership role as team captain on this year’s team,” says Steinbart. “She always has great team spirit, and we are excited about the positive impact that she can have on our team.”

The cross-country team is also excited about several new players who have tremendous perseverance and personalities. Margo Watson, a transfer sophomore from Atlanta, GA, has a very outgoing personality and good team spirit, causing the coaching staff to elect her as one of the team captains this year. Along with Watson, the coaching staff is excited about freshman Savannah Buchi (Great Falls, MN), a strong, dedicated runner who constantly looks to improve. On the men’s side, Nathan Turcotte (Watertown, WI) and Kris Black (Lake Mills, WI) have both been noticed for their strong pace and commitment to improve.

Both Coach Zdroik and Coach Steinbart are extremely excited about the team’s competitive schedule this year. “Our schedule looks really good,” remarks Steinbart. “There are a few harder meets, but also a good balance of easier matches, which will hopefully allow both teams to place higher all around.”

The Crusaders will look to attain several goals that the coaching staff has presented for the teams this year. “Ultimately, we want each player to develop as a runner in some phase throughout the season,” states Steinbart. “The successful runners will know how to push and develop themselves on their own, even during a match, which can be a great example for the younger players. We also would love to finish well at Nationals this year again,” says Steinbart excitedly, “as the men’s team finished 2nd and the women finished 5th at last year’s tournament.”

The Crusaders ran well at their first meet, the Ripon Invitational, with the women’s team finishing 3rd and the men finishing 5th out of 7 teams. They look forward to five more matches during the season, capped with the NCCAA National Tournament at Cedarville University.