A sea­son to gain ex­pe­ri­ence

CSM women’s cross coun­try fea­tures 5 run­ners, 4 of them first-timers

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

When the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land women’s cross coun­try team com­petes in its first of three meets on Sept. 24 at Shenan­doah Univer­sity in Vir­ginia, the Hawks will ar­rive with five women of vary­ing de­grees of ex­pe­ri­ence, al­though four of them will be par­tic­i­pat­ing for CSM for the first time this fall.

CSM first-year head coach Josh Trice spent the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons as the Hawks’ as­sis­tant coach where he learned a con­sid­er­able amount about the var­i­ous as­pects of be­com­ing a head coach. Trice ad­mit­ted the three pre­vi­ous years helped him pre­pare for his rookie sea­son as the Hawks coach, but he noted there are more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties than he en­vi­sioned.

“The last three years was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Trice, a 2000 McDonough High School grad­u­ate who served in the U.S. Air Force and then earned his as­so­ciate’s de­gree at CSM be­fore earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in his­tory and a master’s de­gree in teach­ing from the Univer­sity of Mary­land. “But there are so many things that go into be­ing a head coach that you can only grasp when you fi­nally be­come a head coach.”

Among the five mem­bers of the CSM women’s cross coun­try team — there is no men’s team this fall — are one re­turner, sopho­more Alia Kas­sim, a Wal­dorf res­i­dent who at­tended Hope Clas­si­cal Academy in Min­nesota and two other sopho­mores, Bethany Bow­man, a North Point High School grad­u­ate who ran for Frost­burg State Univer­sity last fall and Kacee­dra Mitchell, a 2014 Thomas Stone grad­u­ate who will be com­pet­ing in her first year of col­lege run­ning.

“Alia is very con­sis­tent and I am glad that she is back for a sec­ond year with our pro­gram,” Trice said. “She def­i­nitely is ded­i­cated. Bethany is go­ing to be a nice ad­di­tion to the squad. She’s al­ready com­peted for a year at Frost­burg, so I know that will en­able her to be a big con­trib­u­tor for us. Kacee­dra took last year off from run­ning, but I think she’s ready for a good sea­son and she’ll have two years with me here.”

Two other fresh­men will com­plete the lineup for the Hawks. Han­nah Hall, a Min­nesota na­tive who now re­sides in St. Mary’s County, and Des­tiny Smith, a Wal­dorf res­i­dent who grew up in El Paso, Texas, and spent six years in the U.S. Army and has two chil­dren who will be run­ning cross coun­try for the first time. Smith may lack ex­pe­ri­ence, but Trice ex­pects her to be in peak phys­i­cal con­di­tion.

“Han­nah is ba­si­cally new to the area, but she drives an hour each way to at­tend classes and take part in our prac­tices and work­outs,” Trice said. “So I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing what she can do for us this sea­son and next sea­son. Des­tiny will be in her first year of com­pe­ti­tion, but I know she’ll be in shape. She spent six years in the mil­i­tary and I know how tough their runs can be, so I have no doubt she’ll be ready for the sea­son opener.”

Al­though much of the com­pact ros­ter will be com­pet­ing in their first sea­son for the Hawks, Trice has high hopes for the squad this year and next. CSM will com­pete in the open­ing meet at Shenan­doah on Sept. 24 then head to Goucher Col­lege in Bal­ti­more on Oct. 8 and then Hood Col­lege in Frederick on Oct. 15 be­fore head­ing to Hager­stown for the Re­gion XX cham­pi­onships on Oct. 29.

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