DeKALB — In his fifth season as head coach of the cross country program, Adrian Myers will lead the Huskie program that has finished top four in back-to-back years.
The Northern Star interviewed Myers on the upcoming season .
The following are excerpts of that interview. They have been lightly edited for clarity and consistency.
Q: You got off to a good start over the weekend winning the Early Bird meet down at Western Illinois and almost posting a perfect score with 16 points. How happy were you with the ladies’ performance?
A: I was very happy. We kind of set our schedule up this year with the intention to learn how to win. I think we have a program that is going to put its best foot forward in trying to win a championship at home.
We have as good a shot as anyone in the top three. Part of learning how to manage that expectation is to learn how to achieve it.
I was very happy how they executed, how relaxed they were and how they stuck to the plan. I’m extremely excited as to where we are headed.
Q: One thing your team does have is a lot of depth. Who are some of the people that you’re counting on this fall to put up some low numbers and fast times?
A: We’re very fortunate to have three All-MAC cross country runners on our team in junior Ashley Tutt, junior Mackenzie Callahan and redshirt senior Erika Hibser.
They are so close to each other, and that’s a good thing for us. After that, junior Vivian Overbeck had a great track season, and she is going to be solid for us. We have several runners that can fill different roles for us we haven’t had in the past.
Q: You have had back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the MAC over the last two years and finished second in 2016. What’s it going to take to move up the 2016 level with this year’s team or even to that next level beyond?
A: It’s about putting our best five in the chute that day. I think that we have the best trio in the conference, though not by a significant margin, and after that, and what’s more important, is [if] we have the best four-five-six in the conference.
We have to have people do their job and not try to do someone else’s. The program is focusing on going for broke on our home course.
We don’t need an out of body experience [at conference]. I think we need to have our eight to 10 best athletes that we can foster from this program and do what they are capable of performing.
Q: How excited are you to be hosting the MAC Championships Nov. 2 at the North 40?
A: It’s great. It’s something I sold our recruits on, it’s something they would get an opportunity to do that only comes once every 12 years.
You get to host a championship on your home course. For our fans, administrators, the student body and even the whole community, you get to show everybody the work you’ve put in and what this sport is, and how exciting this sport can be, especially at the championship level.
Being in front of the community and getting them behind is really important.
I can tell you that the team is extremely excited they get to sleep in their own beds the night before.
We’re not flying, we’re not going out of class for multiple hours and sleeping in hotel beds. So you know there’s always a distinct advantage when you’re at home and just that comfort level, and we get to train on our home course every week. The girls are excited about that.
Q: Along with the MAC Championships in November, you are hosting a meet this weekend. Tell us about that.
A: This Friday at 5 p.m. we are hosting the Huskie Challenge. We will have four or five teams from the MAC, and the Horizon League champions here, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
We have a couple of junior colleges here, including Harper College, last year’s junior college national champions.
We’re really excited about that, to get out there and kind of work the kinks out as far as logistics and the course flow and those sorts of things.
We want to be well-prepared so that we know we put on a championship pedigree in November.
Q: Is making the NCAA championships a definite goal this year?
A: Maybe not this year, but I don’t want to rule anything out. I would be extremely happy to get into the top six of the Midwest Region, which is knocking on the door.
When we started, my ambition was within five years that we would be competing for the MAC championship.
Then, hopefully winning one and an additional couple of years after that to take a realistic shot at the national championships.
On that day, anything can happen and of course we’re preparing to put our best foot forward at the regionals.
We hope that we move the needle in our favor on that day, but we may be a year or two away from setting that as our expectation.