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Men's Cross Country

High Hopes For Men's Cross Country

Aug. 18, 2000

Chestnut Hill, Mass. - Head coach Randy Thomas is excited about the prosepects of this year's Boston College men's cross country team. He is confident that through determined and disciplined effort, his troops can make headway on a local, regional and national level.

Although competing in a conference that is arguably the nation's finest, the BIG EAST, Thomas believes his squad to be capable of staying in the upper-half of the conference.

Senior captain Justin Burdon, despite the fact that he lost two of his fellow Canadian teammates to graduation, standouts Marshall Armitage and Derek Holland, returns to lead the squad. On the heels of a successful junior season, which included a second-place finish at the Central Connecticut Invitational and a third-place mark at the New England Championships, Burdon looks to enter the upper echelon of runners in the conference and beyond.

"Justin Burdon is ready to make a significant impact on a national level," Thomas says. "He has the talent and determination to compete with the very best runners in the country."

In implementing a tapered early-season training schedule, Thomas hopes to gradually build Burdon's stamina and endurance throughout the course of the season.

"The idea is to have Justin peaking in the latter stages of the season," the coach says. "We want him to be as strong as possible for the BIG EAST Championships and, hopefully, the NCAA Championships."

Joining Burdon will be seniors Mark Fonnemann and Andrew Shaffer. Fonnemann's goal is to regain the form that he showed at this past year's New England Championships, where he came within nine seconds of breaking the 25:00 barrier. Shaffer, who spent the 1999 season studying abroad, has returned to campus and is ready to compete.

Two seasoned juniors, Nathan Buttrick and Colin Wolfe, hope to build upon their experiences within the program and bolster the team's chances in 2000. Buttrick's sophomore campaign was highlighted by a seventh-place mark at the Central Connecticut Invitational, a meet that fellow classmate Wolfe won.

Sophomore Matthew Kootman, who ran to a 24th-place finish in a field of 101 in his first collegiate race at the Central Connecticut Invitational, will be relied upon to provide necessary depth.

Headlining the freshman class is Byron Gartrell, a graduate of Boston College High School. He will be joined by fellow Massachusetts runners David Berry, Matthew Clapstick and Jared Peterson.

"We hope that the combination of our returnees, especially Justin Burdon, and the incoming freshmen can blend with one another to keep us competitive in the BIG EAST Conference," Thomas says.

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