By Matt Mazzamaro
Of the many talented and decorated sports teams that Lynn is proud to call their own, one in particular was not offered by the blue and white until this year.
It has been recently announced after a long wait that men’s cross country will now be accredited as a NCAA Division 2 team at Lynn. With the gradual addition of men’s lacrosse, women’s swimming, women’s cross country and track since 2012, men’s cross country will be the 17th team added to the roster evening out the sports with 8 men’s and 8 women’s NCAA varsity teams.
Although a new team is being added, there will not be any additional coaches added to the coaching staff. Current women’s cross-country coach Chris Wood will take on the same role with the men as he did with the women in their first season.
“Season one will be very similar to my first season with the women’s program,” said Wood. “We had some huge successes but didn’t quite make the jump needed to be highly competitive. Men’s cross country is built for juniors and seniors and 18 year olds are not always ready to make the jump from 5k to 8 or 10k racing. We will see steady progress and improvement and that’s all we can ask for.”
The transition from coaching only women to also coaching men should be a smooth one, as Wood spent the better part of 15 years coaching primarily men before spending his last 6 focusing on coaching women.
When asked about taking on the task of coaching both teams, Wood exclaimed:
“Coaching men shouldn’t be a problem at all. Distance running is not as different as, say men’s and women’s lacrosse. There is a very similar demeanor and mindset on both ends.”
Even though the coaching itself will not be any different, Wood says that the approach definitely will be.
“The workouts for a male running 10k are much longer than that of a female running 5 or 6k,” Wood explained. “They will probably have to go to some alternative locations than the women to get the required work done as well. It’s just an overall more time-consuming endeavor to train men.”
As for expectations, Coach Wood is looking for more out of his athletes on the developmental side and not so much on the running side in this inaugural season.
“Introducing men’s cross country and track to our athletics portfolio reflects our program’s and agility,” said Devin Crosby, director of athletics. “[Head coach] Chris Wood’s recruiting acumen, ability to develop sincere relationships and training philosophy quickly advanced Lynn women’s cross country and track, added only last season. I’m confident Wood will establish a similar culture for our men’s team, founded on confidence, humility and maturity—attributes that describe the success of our programs.”
A date for the first actual meet for the men’s cross country team is yet to be set in stone. However, it will most likely be at FAU on Veteran’s Day Weekend.