A season to gain experience
CSM women’s cross country features 5 runners, 4 of them first-timers
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.